Kennedy Ready To Feed Off Home Support At “Dream” London Classic

A decade on from playing an exhibition match at the Canary Wharf Classic as a bright teenage prospect, Georgina Kennedy, now England No.1 and an 11-time winner on the PSA Tour, is returning to compete in the inaugural women’s edition of the event at the world-famous Alexandra Palace.

The London Squash Classic 2024, which is a continuation of the iconic Canary Wharf Classic, will see 48 of the world’s best players descend upon the English capital in a bid to claim the PSA World Tour Gold-level titles.

Not only will a women’s event be played alongside the men’s event for the very first time, but the tournament has also drawn six of the world’s top ten ranked women’s players – one of which is London-born Kennedy.

The 26-year-old, currently ranked World No.7, couldn’t hide her excitement at the opportunity that awaits in the coming week.

“I am super excited that the women are finally going to be playing alongside the men this year at the London Classic,” she said. “I have been watching the event for so many years – I even played an exhibition match there when I was about 16 years old – and it is definitely one of the best, most exciting events on the tour.

“Given that the atmosphere is always incredible, the women definitely felt like we were missing out; playing in an event like this is stuff that us pros can only dream of. Given all this, it is super exciting for all of us to play alongside the men this year.

“It is also really cool that I am going in there as a top-eight seed, and I’m looking to go as far into the tournament as I can. This is going to be the first time that I am playing a PSA World Tour event in my stomping ground of London, so I am so excited to play in front of a familiar home crowd.”

Proposed refurbishments to the East Wintergreen venue, where the Canary Wharf Classic has been held over the last two decades, prompted a move to the stunning Alexandra Palace in North London – a venue which has become renowned for hosting the Darts World Championships and creating a one-of-a-kind atmosphere within its walls.

Kennedy will hope that this atmosphere can help push her to record another impressive finish on the PSA World Tour, with the Englishwoman having already reached six semi-finals this season and recently finishing runner-up at the Cleveland-based Squash In The Land.

On the prospect of playing at Alexandra Palace, Kennedy said:

“I am so excited that the event will be held at such an iconic location like Ally Pally. I have watched the Darts World Championships be played there and the atmosphere is always absolutely incredible; I have honestly never seen anything like it.

“I can’t wait to see how the crowd will be set up around the glass court – I am hoping it will feel really intimate so it can encourage the crowd to get extra rowdy. I think the best sporting events are the ones that foster the best atmosphere amongst the crowd, and Ally Pally is definitely a great place to achieve this.”

Throughout her career to date, Kennedy has often produced her best squash when playing on English soil, winning seven of her 11 titles on the PSA Tour in her home country, as well as claiming a Gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Last year, Kennedy also enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals of the British Open – a tournament in which she came a game away from knocking out Nour El Sherbini and progressing to the last four.

Form such as this certainly highlights the dangers that Kennedy can pose to the entire field at the London Squash Classic next week, with the home favourite entering the event as the No.5 seed.

Kennedy hopes that playing in front of a home crowd will once again boost her game to new heights, admitting:

“I have spent the entirety of 2024 playing events in the USA and, whilst it feels like a second home for me nowadays given that I spent four years there at college and that my sponsor Open Squash is based in NYC, I can’t wait to be playing on home soil again.

“There is nothing quite like playing in front of your friends and family, and it is especially exciting for me given that the event is taking place in London, not too far from where I have lived my entire life. A lot of my friends and family don’t get to see my play live very often, so they are all very excited to come and watch me in the flesh for once.

“The best performances of my career have occurred at home events, such as the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and the British Open in 2023, and this is definitely down to the atmosphere of the crowd.

“I get a real buzz from feeling that support behind me and it has absolutely helped me reach my best level of squash at these huge events. There is nothing quite like playing in front of a home crowd and I am genuinely so excited to play in front of one at the London Classic.”

Kennedy is due to start her campaign at the London Classic against one of Canada’s Nicole Bunyan or compatriot Lucy Turmel before a potential quarter-final bout against World No.4 Nele Gilis – an opponent who Kennedy recently edged out in four games at the Windy City Open.

Kennedy admitted that this run to the semi-finals in Chicago – her second visit to the last four stage of a Platinum event this season – boosted her confidence levels significantly after a New Year period consumed with injury worries.

“I am definitely really happy with my performances over the last few weeks in Chicago and Cleveland,” the 26-year-old said. “I feel like I have turned a real corner tactically, and all the stuff that I am able to do in training has finally started to come together in matches over the past two events.

“Going into Chicago, I was struggling a lot with my confidence after having to alter my training due to a hip injury that I sustained in November, so to perform the way I did was just what I needed to get me back on track and give me my confidence back. I am really happy with my game at the moment, and my body is feeling really good too, so I can’t wait to get stuck in.”