Open aims to give squash a big push

Laura Massaro with brother Chris Lengthorn

Laura Massaro with brother Chris Lengthorn

First published in Sport

SQUASH fans are invited to attend the second Courtcare Open – a tournament organised by world champion Laura Massaro and her brother Chris Lengthorn.

The tournament, launched last year, will be held at David Lloyd Chorley, Moss Lane, Chorley and runs from Wednesday to Sunday.

Entry will be free of charge for the week day sessions with tickets priced £3 for members and £5 for non-members for the weekend action.

Lengthorn, head coach at the national squash centre in Manchester, is hoping more young squash fans attend as he looks to raise the profile of the sport in the area.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for people to come along and meet and mix with professional squash players,” he said.

“Entry is free of charge on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and it would be great to see as many people as possible turn up and see what is going on.”

While Lengthorn hasn’t worked with local schools in the build up to this year’s event, he is hoping that having a world class tournament established in the borough will help encourage more youngsters to take part.

“Last year we did a lot of work with some of the local schools, going in and holding four week coaching courses, inviting them to the Open then held a schools tournament,” he said. “We haven’t done that this year but we have given tickets to schools in the area and we will take it from there rather than force the issue.”

The competition – a WSA $10,000 event – will include some of the game’s up-and-coming stars including Sarah-Jane Perry who won the World Squash Association’s breakthrough player of the year award.

Perry, ranked 16th in the world, is number one seed for the tournament with Massaro’s England team-mate Sarah Kippax, seeded two. There will be 16 players in the main draw with a qualifying round also taking place. Lengthorn will also trying and use his brotherly charms to encourage sister Laura to bring along her trophy haul - she is also tje current British Open champion as well as world player of the year.

“Laura doesn’t want to take the limelight away from the players which is understandable but I think it would be great to have the trophies there for the players and spectators to look at,” he said.

“The players really do look up to Laura and having the trophies there would be great “So I’ll see if I can lean on her a bit. Other than that I might just go around and take the trophies myself!”

And for the first time there will also be a men’s satellite competition which will include Massaro’s husband and coach Danny and her brother.

“That should be interesting,” added Lengthorn who has been kept apart from this brother-in-law in the draw. “Again, this will be a chance for local players to test themselves against players from around the country.

“It is just one of the things we have added as we aim to establish the Courtcare Open.

“We want to build on what we have achieved so far, increase the prize money and continue to promote the game locally.”

Tickets are on sale from David Lloyd reception. For more details call 01257 235100.

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