Article courtesy of The Lancashire Evening Post
I’m writing this column on the flight to play two events in the States.
Firstly, I am competing in the Carol Weymuller Open in Brooklyn, New York.
Then it’s the U.S. Open in Philadelphia.
The Carol Weymuller event is one that all the girls like to play.
It’s a fairly big event for the women but one that’s played in a traditional squash club…not on a glass court.
The prize money is put up mainly by the members, and the club is situated in a really nice part of Brooklyn with the view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty just over the water.
It is spectacular and something I look forward to every year.
I’ve been playing the event for about eight years, and for the last five I have stayed with the Dietz family, who live a few streets away from the club. As the prize money is put up by the members, they also like to host players.
Hotels are available, but many of us have played the event for so long that we know the members and like to come back to the same people every year.
Houses in the US are generally so much bigger than in England. I’m staying at the Dietz household with fellow player Latasha Khan and we have the fourth floor to ourselves…yes, the fourth floor!
Apart from all the stairs, it’s brilliant—you certainly don’t want to be forgetting anything though before you head downstairs for your match.
The family are great and it means some home-cooked meals, instead of restaurants every night, and some support during my matches.
It’s like coming to visit friends every year, and I really enjoy my time in Brooklyn.
I return to New York this year as defending champion, which is a great feeling.
I would love to play well again this year and defend my title, but it is a strong draw, with the top four in the world all playing.
First up I have a qualifier, so when I arrive I can watch the 16 girls in the qualifying battle it out for the four main draw spots on Tuesday and Wednesday, before I start my tournament on Thursday. The tournament runs until Sunday.
Then I have a few days before heading to Philadelphia for the U.S. Open.
The plan is to stay with the Dietz family until Tuesday, and then catch the bus to Philly, which takes about an hour-and-a-half.
For the U.S. Open, I’m staying in a hotel.
This is a major event this year, with the size being World Series-level and the biggest event on tour behind the World Open.
It is also the first time that the prize money for both the men’s and women’s events will be equal.
I must say, it’s a fantastic achievement by the U.S. Open and the sponsors Delaware Investments to get the equal status, and something the women are obviously very happy and pleased to have.
The event is a big one in prize money but also in draw size.
The main draw is a 32-woman event and 16 qualifying, but it is split into the first round, last 16 and quarterfinal, meaning there is a rest day between those rounds.
This makes the event one of the longest I will have played in duration at eight days.
It will be held at Drexel University in the huge sports hall there on an all-glass court and televised on ESPN 3 and also on www.psasquashtv.com.
I’m really looking forward to it…it should be a great event.
Maybe with all the rest days I can make time to go and get some inspiration from the famous ‘Rocky Steps’ outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art and make the most of being in a great city.
I will be keeping my website up to date with reports and pictures while I’m away, so have a look on www.lauramassaro.co.uk to see how I’m getting on.