By Jay D. Prince, Editor in Chief
My first U.S. Open, in the fall of 1998, was held in a Minneapolis Athletic Club gymnasium with about five rows of seating and around fifty spectators for the final. The focal point was a portable “perspex” court that looked like it was always on the verge of collapse when players ran into the walls. Sixteen years later, the Delaware Investments U.S. Open featured the ASB GlassCourt in Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Center that was dressed to the nines, exclusive club tables around the side and front wall, seating for upwards of 1,000, music, web streaming by SquashTV, and a multitude of events taking place throughout the ten day spectacle.
Qualifying took place at six local venues in and around Philadelphia; Twitter blew up with thousands of 140 character comments; live scoring through Club Locker became a fixture; the USOpenSquash.com website kept people up to speed in virtual real time; TennisChannelEverywhere.com replayed the event in its entirety throughout the week after; prize money parity, now in its second year, is a given rather than a head turner; the list goes on and on.
What was once a small, essentially private, tournament has become a world-class, destination championship celebration of the best squash in the world. You might want to consider purchasing your tickets early for next year—you’re not going to want to miss it.