BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (WWJ) – Over two dozen of the world’s best squash players will be having a ball at the 14th annual Motor City Open. It’s at the Birmingham Athletic Club Wednesday through Monday.
Tournament co-chair Mike Beauregard says squash is similar to racquetball–but demands better conditioning.
“A racquetball racquet’s a very short racquet, has an extremely bouncey ball,” Beauregard told WWJ Newsradio 950. “So the ball basically chases the players around; it’s not as athletic. In squash, the racquet is much longer; it has a smaller head and the ball is much squishier.”
Hence the name, “squash.” The game was developed 200 years ago in an English prison, when inmates modified a similar game called “Rackets” by puncturing the ball so it wouldn’t bounce all over the prison yard.
“The ball that was originally used was a punctured rackets ball, which is different than a racquetball that’s squashed on impact on the wall,” Beauregard said.
While four local players are in this week’s tourney, Beauregard says Egyptian players have the top three seeds. Why are they so good? Their training includes running up to eight miles a day.
Players will be competing for a $50,000 prize purse, which includes a Rolex watch and a trophy shaped like a steering wheel.
The event typically attracts more than 1,500 spectators. For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit the tournament’s official website.