THE BLOG
10/10/2013 12:21 BST | Updated 10/12/2013 05:12 GMT

Autumn US Squash Tour Well Underway

Egypt's world number 1 Ramy Ashour won the Netsuite Open in San Francisco last Tuesday evening beating France's world number 2 Gregory Gaultier in five games.

I lost to Ashour in four games in the semi finals and Gaultier beat my England compatriot Daryl Selby in three games.

This tournament, run by John Nimick's EventEngine team (John is responsible for the legendary Tournament of Champions in New York) is in its second year and already its breathtaking outdoor setting on the Embarcadero in San Francisco Bay is one of the iconic squash venues.

John's speciality seems to be staging the sport against such spectacular backdrops and running marvellous events which expose the public to the sport. In holding the Tournament of Champions in the Vanderbilt Hall of Grand Central Terminal, he flaunts the world game in a way no other event or marketing strategy can.

The situation of the championship court in San Francisco is no less thrilling a site, though it may not quite be able to capture the attention of the sheer volume of people going about their routine that the New York Tournament does.

John and his team are to be congratulated on the foresight and energy that brings these unbelievable events to fruition.

Elsewhere, Nicol David won the WSA Carol Weymuller Open in New York, and Borja Golan won a 35k Open event in Montreal at the weekend.

I made a fleeting trip to San Diego, before heading to Philadelphia for the US Open, to play an exhibition match with Thierry Lincou, former world number one, and to meet up with many of the players on Urban squash programme, 'Access Youth Academy'. The academy was set up to support children from deprived areas within the city. There are similar organisations based on the east coast of America: Squashbusters and StreetSquash to name two. In America, squash is only largely accessible to the wealthy who are able to pay high membership fees for entry in to affluent clubs, and so these developments and initiatives are crucial in attracting children of all ages and backgrounds to partake in a disciplined sport-based routine.

As with many charities, the funding comes from donations and events, and there are many people who should be congratulated on their support.

Our job as world players was hopefully to add to the momentum a little and to inspire one or two of the kids there. I hope we gave them a good match. We certainly had a happy stay.

The US Open begins in Philadelphia on Friday.