Doubles on the Rise
By Morris Clothier, US Squash Doubles Committee Chairperson
As the start of the 2007-2008 doubles season commences, many new and exciting developments are taking place. US Squash, Squash Canada, the ISDA, and the US Squash Doubles Committee, are working together to enhance events and continue to grow hardball doubles at every level. There are new initiatives, tournaments, and organizational improvements which will ensure that the 2007-2008 hardball doubles season will be better than any prior year.
The US Squash Doubles Committee, which is now 28 strong and has representatives from all over the country, has formed subcommittees to better serve the needs of the sport and the US Squash membership. They include committees for: junior development, rankings, intercollegiates, women’s doubles and rules. Committee chairpersons can be found on the much improved US Squash doubles web site. These subcommittees will focus on US Squash’s commitment to nurture and grow all aspects of doubles squash.
New National Championships Introduced
National Championship events continue to expand. A National Sibling Championship was introduced and recently played in Sea Island, GA. A Mother & Daughter National Championship will be introduced and played for the first time in Locust Valley, NY, in May 2008. The National Century Championship, sanctioned by US Squash, will be played in February 2008, in New York City, and promises to be larger than the 50+ teams that participated last year. The U.S. Father & Son Championships, entering its fourth year, will introduce another age category (15 and under) and is expected to have another record turnout in April 2008. The Intercollegiates and U.S. Junior Doubles Championships have been moved to later in the season (April) to eliminate conflicts with singles events, and it is expected that turnout will be high as well. These events will complement the long-standing Mixed, Men’s and Women’s Doubles Championships which were both at near record participation levels last year. The National Championship and overall doubles schedule can be found on the US Squash doubles web site.
Eligibility for the Sotheby’s International Realty U.S. Doubles Championships is also changing this year. At the Open level, one championship only will be played where men who play in 50% or more of ISDA events will be ineligible to compete.
The US Squash doubles rankings are now in place and will be updated quarterly. These rankings are inclusive to all levels for both men and women and take into consideration all US Squash sanctioned events. The complete rankings can also be found on the US Squash doubles web site.
World Doubles Changes
The World Hardball Doubles Championships will be undergoing a significant change. At the Open level it will be required that individuals play with their fellow countrymen. In the age divisions, a new competition is being formed whereby the top teams in Canada and the United States will be selected based largely on performance and ranking to play in a first ever Canada vs. United States competition. This event is slated for October 2008 and will be discussed in an upcoming article in more detail.
Professional Doubles and Court Growth
At the professional level, hardball doubles continues to thrive. The ISDA tour now has 16 events with over $800,000 in prize money. The highlight of the season will be the North American Open in Greenwich and the Kellner Cup in New York City, which should once again approach $100,000 in prize money. The U.S. Pro Doubles Championships presented by Sotheby’s International Realty, held each year in Wilmington, DE will also see an increase in prize money. A professional women’s doubles tour is starting this year led by Narelle Krizek with at least four events and over $75,000 in prize money.
New courts continue to be built. Eight new courts have been built in the last six months including Southampton, NY; Long Island City, NY; Cedar Knolls, NJ; Richmond, VA; Gladwyne, PA; King of Prussia, PA (2); and Barbados.
Hardball doubles is continuing to surge at all levels. The 2007-2008 season should have the highest participation level in the sport’s history, with US Squash well-positioned for the challenges.