Reporting Scott Ryan
DETROIT (WWJ) - The world’s top squash players are raising a racquet this weekend at the Detroit Athletic Club.
It’s the Pro Squash Tour World Championship Tournament, which runs Friday through Sunday, as eight players vie for the title. Top-ranked David Palmer said while the sport has only recently caught on in the U.S., it’s very big in Egypt, England, Germany, and in his native Australia.
He said most people think of squash as a more rigorous version of racquetball. In fact, Forbes rated squash as the No. 1 sport for fitness because of its cardiovascular benefits.
“The racquet’s a little bit bigger, the balls are a little bit smaller, the game is much faster and there’s a lot more fitness required and a lot more tactical play involved as well,” he said.
Palmer said the game is very fast and requires the mental challenges of a chess game. He said just like NASCAR, squash has their version of a cup chase and a dedicated fan following.
“The athletic club is really supportive of the event and I think they’re very proud to have the finals. The whole year we sort of play tournaments collecting points and this is a unique tournament, it’s only for the top eight players,” he said.
Palmer is hoping to avenge last year’s second-place finish in Detroit. He and his colleagues are pushing for squash to be recognized in the 2020 Olympics.
In addition to competing in tournament action, touring pros will also give back to the community when they spend time with Detroit’s Urban Squash enrichment program, Racquet Up. On Saturday at noon, inner city youths will step on court with the pros and see them in action, some for the first time.
The Pro Squash Tour’s World Championship tournament begins Friday, May 3 at 4:30 p.m. and continues Saturday, May 4 at 1:30 p.m. The finals are scheduled for Sunday, May 5 at 1:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $40 per day or $100 for the weekend. For more information, visit www.ProSquashTour.net.
The Detroit Athletic Club will serve as the host of this annual world-class squash competition through 2015.