London Squash Classic 2024: Tournament Preview

Georgina Kennedy in action.

The inaugural GillenMarkets London Squash Classic 2024 gets underway in just over 24 hours time, with 48 of the world’s best players descending upon the English capital to compete in the PSA World Tour Gold event.

The London Squash Classic, a continuation of the iconic Canary Wharf Classic, will take place between March 27 – April 1 and will be held at the world-famous Alexandra Palace (with first round matches held at Coolhurst Squash Club). As well as the event moving from its prior venue of East Wintergarden, this year will also see the introduction of a women’s draw for the very first time.

Day One of the event will be held at Collhurst Tennis & Squash Club before moving to the all-glass court at Alexandra Palace. Every second of action will be available to watch live on SQUASHTV. The tournament will also see a best-of-three format used up until the semi-finals, at which point, matches will be switched back to the traditional best-of-five games.

In the women’s draw, World No.1 Nour El Sherbini enters the event as the top seed, with fierce rivals Hania El Hammamy and Nouran Gohar named as No.2 and No.3 seeds, respectively. El Sherbini has enjoyed a spectacular season to date, during which she has claimed six titles on the PSA World Tour, four of which have been Platinum level. The ‘Warrior Princess’ will start her campaign against Finland’s Emilia Soini or Tesni Murphy of Wales.

World No.3 Gohar will be looking to capture her first title since returning to the tour from a plantar fascia injury in January, and can be found in the same quarter of the draw as No.6 seed Sarah-Jane Perry. The Egyptian could meet compatriot El Hammamy in the semi-finals if the event went to seeding, with the pair having exchanged some classic encounters in the past. El Hammamy will kick her campaign off against either France’s Enora Villard or recent Optasia Championships winner Satomi Watanabe.

There is plenty of danger further back in the field, with World No.4 Nele Gilis arriving on the back of a runner-up finish at the Optasia Championships and England No.1 Georgina Kennedy having played some of her best squash over the last month. Kennedy has also enjoyed prior success when playing on English soil, winning a gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and will be hoping that the home crowd can spur her on to a first PSA World Tour title of the season.

The rest of the top eight seeding positions are filled out by England’s Perry, Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam, and Egyptian teenager Fayrouz Aboelkheir, while there will be six other English players in action: Jasmine Hutton, Lucy Turmel, Katie Malliff, Grace Gear, Alicia Mead, and Millie Tomlinson.

In the men’s draw, Paul Coll will be the No.1 seed and man to beat – arriving on the back of his victory at the Optasia Championships last week. Coll defeated Baptiste Masotti, Mostafa Asal and World No.1 Ali Farag on his way to victory in Wimbledon, and will be on the hunt for his fifth title of the season. The New Zealander will open his account against one of Fares Dessouky or Timothy Brownell before a potential quarter-final versus No.8 seed Iker Pajares.

Coll is unlikely to have it all his own way, though, with some big names filling up the top eight seed positions. ‘The Raging Bull’ Mostafa Asal has been named the No.2 seed in North London and will certainly be a danger in the best-of-three format, which he thrived under during his run to the PSA World Tour Finals title last season. The Egyptian will play Qatar’s Abdulla Al-Tamimi or England’s Nick Wall in his opening match of the event.

The No.3 and No.4 seeding positions in the men’s event will be filled out by Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad and Wales’ Joel Makin. 32-year-old Gawad has turned back the clock to produce some of the best squash of his career this season, winning titles at the Grasshopper Cup, the Malaysia Cup, and the Pittsburgh Open. ‘The Baby-faced Assassin’ can be found in the same quarter of the draw as No.6 seed Baptiste Masotti, while Makin could potentially face England’s Marwan ElShorbagy in the last eight.

No.5 seed ElShorbagy will be one of seven Englishmen taking to the court this week, with Nathan Lake, Adrian Waller, Nick Wall, George Parker, Simon Herbert, and tournament wildcard Declan James also hoping to feed off the home crowd and enjoy strong runs.

For more information on the London Squash Classic, visit the PSA website or follow the PSA on XFacebookInstagramTikTok, and YouTube. You can also keep track of all of the live scores from the event by clicking here.