You would think that the geographical location of St. Louis would limit the level of play and participation, but that is certainly not the case! Over the last ten years alone we have held eight PSA world tour events, including two all-glass court tournaments in a mall. We have had the world’s top ten players competing for the St. Louis Open title!!
Annually we hold the ISDA doubles pro tour stop with the best doubles players the nation has to offer. We have held the national doubles more than once and last year we started hosting a WISPA tour event. Combine this with the fact that St. Louis has a long history of producing high level squash players and you can see that we may be a long way from the east coast but we stay at a level that can compete with the best districts in the nation. We are lucky enough to have three squash professionals working to promote the game in St. Louis. Mike Puertas, a former world tour player from England, landed in St. Louis in 1996 and has worked to grow the game and promote numerous professional and amateur events as well as coaching juniors and even a World No. 1 along the way! Scott Denne (he of Tasmania), who arrived in St. Louis in 2006, has been building the program at the Missouri Athletic Club and has now added assistant pro Heidi Mather (also from Australia). With the prospect of adding a new court, it is looking like squash in the Midwest is pushing forward.
The St. Louis Squash Racquets Association has been working with other districts to get together a more competitive Midwest junior squash scene. In doing so we have set up a Midwest Squash Tour for all Midwestern events that will give the kids Midwest ranking points for playing, and bonus points for winning matches. At the end of the season we will crown a Midwest champion in each division. As a St. Louis Junior player, the SLSRA provides uniforms and warm ups to all players who compete in at least four ranking events. Other programs up and running for the first time this year are the city wide doubles ladders, where we have 25 teams playing in three divisions. Planned programs include running free squash clinics for ladies and juniors at the JCCA and the possibility of adding squash courts (thus an interschool program) at one of our leading private schools. St. Louis may be known for the famous arch and our baseball team, but the ground for growing squash has never been more fertile, and the St. Louis District Association looks forward to moving the game forward in the Midwest.