US SQUASH

Tournament of Champions Celebrates Twentieth Year in Grand Central

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For the twentieth year, Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall will host the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York City, January 12-19.

The sport’s most iconic venue, with the glass court set up underneath the chandeliers, will field main draws led by men’s and women’s defending champions and world No. 1’s Mohamed Elshorbagy and Nour El Sherbini.

Elshorbagy, who won five World Series events in 2016 including the Delaware Investments U.S. Open in October, is predicted to face newly-crowned world champion and two seed Karim Abdel Gawad in the final.

Past ToC champions Gregory Gaultier, Nick Matthew and Ramy Ashour round out the men’s top five seeds.

The top three women’s seeds are all members of the Egyptian Women’s World Championship-winning team last month: El Sherbini, 2015 champion Raneem El Welily and nineteen-year-old Nouran Gohar.

Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy enjoyed a breakout tournament in 2016, in which she reached her first career World Series final, and the world No. 6 will hope to go one better as the tournament’s seven seed.

Five seed Camille Serme will aim for her second consecutive World Series title after claiming her first U.S. Open title in October.

In addition to the Tour’s top players, a twenty-three past champions will convene in New York City to celebrate the tournament’s twentieth year in Grand Central.

“It is fitting that, on the 20th anniversary of staging the ToC in the awe-inspiring setting of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall, we have been treated to one of the strongest line-ups and most compelling draws in the tournament’s history, ” said John Nimick, President of Squash Engine, Inc., the tournament promoter. “To have all of the world’s top male and female players, a host of current and past champions, and some of the most promising talents in the game come together for the first event of the year is incredibly exciting.”

In 1995, ToC was one of the first events to be staged in Vanderbilt Hall when the venue was made available for public use. In that year, world No. 1 Jansher Khan of Pakistan defeated Rodney Eyles of Australia to win his second title and lift the trophy for the first time in Grand Central Terminal. The tournament, absent from Grand Central Terminal during its renovation from 1996-1998, returned to Vanderbilt Hall in 1999. The ToC is the only sports championship presented annually in Grand Central Terminal. The ToC is the sport’s oldest men’s pro tournament dating back to February 1930.

“In the ToC’s two decades in Grand Central Terminal, the championship has become the players’ favorite place to play, is a must-see event for fans locally and globally and has become increasingly valuable as a major international sports property, ” said Nimick. “In 2017, the addition of the Great Northern Food Hall in Vanderbilt Hall will add another level of hospitality for our onsite fans. We are looking forward to continuing our tradition of combining one of the world’s great sports properties with one of NYC’s great community events.”

Two rounds of qualifying, January 10-11, will see sixty-four men and women qualifiers vie for eight spots in each thirty-two player main draw.

The qualifying draws includes local flavor with U.S. internationals, U.S. college players and graduates, and U.S. juniors vying against top-ranked professionals. Qualifying draws will be released January 9.

For tickets and more information, visit www.tocsquash.com.

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