By Jay D. Prince, Editor in Chief
The development of the U.S. Open over the past seventeen years has been staggering. When I first arrived on the scene, the event was held in a small gymnasium deep in the bowels of a private club in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With an extremely limited budget, the largest crowd was fifty people, watching the likes of Peter Nicol, very early in his career, slug it out on the old perspex “plastic” portable court. There was little fanfare, no glitz and no glamor.
Fast forward to 2013 and the Delaware Investments U.S. Open has arrived. The Daskalakis Athletic Center gymnasium at Drexel University was transformed into a mesmerizing squash center, with the McWil glass show court front and center. Black carpet coated the entire floor; black curtains hid any semblance of a college gym; and the four-sided video screen was perfect for reviews and promotional items of all-things squash. A capacity crowd each of the last few nights made it all worth it.
The point is that while squash is still small in comparison to tennis, the enhancements to the U.S. Open demonstrate perfectly what’s possible for the sport. And on the heels of the disappointment in September, when our sport was once again turned away by the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Open continues to set an excellent example of everything that is right with squash. Topping it off with offering parity in prize money for both genders is icing on the cake. One day it will be the norm—and squash will take its rightful place among the international sports elite.