Three-time world champion Nick Matthew and two-time U.S. junior champion Andrew Douglas showcased the first-of-its-kind public squash court with an exhibition for more than 100 spectators Friday, July 13, at Hamilton Fish Park in New York City.
The players entertained the crowed with a five-game match under the hot summer sun, with Matthew claiming the match in the fifth.
The match marked the first time two professional-caliber players have competed on the all-glass court since it opened this spring. The court’s public rules saw spectators playing on the court themselves before and after the exhibition.
“It’s a great initiative, you New Yorkers are lucky and should all take advantage of this court,” said Matthew, who retired from an illustrious career on the PSA Tour in June. “It’s a new angle to the sport and about showcasing it in a new way. It’s been a great pleasure to meet everyone behind the Public Squash team. Hopefully it continues to grow and more courts are on the way.”
Douglas, a rising sophomore at Penn, admitted he had already played on the court leading up to the exhibition. As for the match, the Brooklyn-native relished a chance to play one of his squash idols.
“It was a great experience, I’ve had a signed picture of Nick in my room since I was eight years old,” Douglas said.”The court is an incredible sight. I had been looking forward to playing on this court for months whenever they announced it. This is a great way to expose new players to the game so the entire squash community should get on board with the initiative.”
Watch a replay of the match here.
After a three year process of fundraising, planning and installing, the court was officially unveiled during a special ribbon cutting ceremony on April 17. The Public Squash Foundation is aiming to have twenty courts by 2020.
“The exhibition and crowd were absolutely awesome,” said Ryan Wall, one of the founders of the Public Squash Foundation. “We were a little worried about the time on a Friday afternoon, but people made an effort to come down here. It was great to see CitySquash bring their team down here. It was a really entertaining experience for the whole crowd, a big thanks to Nick and Andrew. This is what it’s all about. The more we can bring the game outside, the more that people can see it, the more people get involved; it’s going to help propel the sport.”
The court will remain open to the public in Hamilton Fish Park through October 17, and is open during regular park hours from 8am-9pm.