The Allam British Open gets under way next week from May 20-26 as action from the sport’s longest running tournament takes place at the University of Hull Sports and Fitness Centre.
We take a look at who the main contenders could be for the women’s and men’s titles.
*Raneem El Welily* The World No.1 is in the form of her lift right now having won three events back-to-back coming into this week’s British Open – which remains the only major title the enigmatic Egyptian has failed to capture in her career. The first Egyptian woman to become World No.1 in any sport, El Welily is most naturally talented attacker in the women’s game and is an unstoppable force on her day.
*Nour El Sherbini* The youngest ever, and Egypt’s first, World Champion, El Sherbini has won almost every major crown going at the tender age of 23 – including two British Open titles and holds the record as the event’s youngest ever finalist at just 16. With a remarkable range of shots in her locker, she also boasts a strong desire to win and refusal to accept defeat – traits that have her on the path to becoming an all time great.
*Nour El Tayeb* One of the most flamboyant players on tour, El Tayeb has an unflappable ability to hit winners from all over the court and a natural flair that makes her a delight to watch. But the British Open remains a bogey event for the talented 26-year-old as she has failed to ever progress beyond the quarter-final stage. It could change next week though if she can rekindle the form that saw her claim two major titles in 2017/18 – the Windy City Open and U.S. Open.
*Camille Serme* The most successful Frenchwoman ever to pick up a squash racket, Camille Serme has a potent blend of pace, fitness and finesse that combined perfectly in 2015 to see her become the first Frenchwoman ever to win the British Open title. That win has proved to be the pinnacle moment of her career to date, but she’ll hope to use the memories of 2015 to improve on last year’s semi-final finish and get her hands on the famous trophy once again.
*Joelle King* A serious Achilles injury appeared to have brought Joelle King’s career to a premature end in 2014, but the powerful Kiwi has battled her way back to the very top of the game. She followed Commonwealth Games Gold in summer 2018 with her first major PSA event win in Hong Kong in November 2018 and then won her second title of the season at the Manchester Open – performances she’ll be aiming to replicate next week.
*Sarah-Jane Perry* 2017 British Open runner-up Sarah-Jane Perry has established herself as England’s number one player during the past year and possesses a full repertoire of shots which make her a threat in all areas of the court. Injury has hampered her exploits so far in 2019, but if fully fit she will be a genuine threat to the title on home soil and a dark horse for success.
*Nouran Gohar* At just 21-years-old, Nouran Gohar, is the youngest player inside the women’s top 10 but is already and established threat and reached the final of the British Open in 2016 – when she narrowly lost out to Nour El Sherbini. Her relentless hard-hitting style is unmatched across the women’s tour and when she gets her tactical play correct, she is almost unstoppable. She has failed to collect a major title in two years but reached the final during last month’s El Gouna International, meaning she comes here in title-contender form.
*Laura Massaro* Lining up at the British Open for the last time in her career, Laura Massaro will be dreaming of a fairytale finish at an event that has seen her produce some of the best squash of her career – winning twice and reaching two further finals in the past six years. With a relentless will to win and an ability to push through the pain barrier time and time again, Massaro will leave everything on court this week.
*Ali Farag* A player who makes the game look effortless, Ali Farag moves with the type of ease last seen in the great Jansher Khan and looks to be on the way to becoming one of the game’s all-time greats. Having recently captured the World Championship and World No.1 mantles – not to mention the Tournament of Champions and El Gouna crowns – he’ll be aiming to secure the British Open title next week and complete a remarkable hattrick.
*Mohamed ElShorbagy* At 28, Mohamed ElShorbagy has already overtaken the likes of Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour to become Egypt’s longest serving World No.1 and is on his way to becoming the squash-mad nation’s most successful player ever. But having lost both the World No.1 and World Championship crowns to compatriot Farag this season, ‘The Beast’ will be aiming to resurrect his campaign and secure the sport’s oldest title for the third time in his career.
*Simon Rösner* The most successful German player ever, Rösner made history last year by becoming the first German to win a World Series title when he triumphed at the Tournament of Champions in New York. He utilises ferocious hitting power to dominate the centre of the court but has subtlety to his play as well. 2019 hasn’t gone to plan on court for the ‘Tree-chopper’ but that could all change this week as he is capable of going all the way.
*Paul Coll* The most successful Kiwi male in 20 years, Paul Coll is possibly the fittest player in squash and possesses a physicality and strength that has earned him the ‘Superman’ nickname. Victory at the Canary Wharf Classic in March saw him land his first marquee title win and if he can replicate the form of that week he could cause a major upset this week.
*Karim Abdel Gawad* Possibly the most relaxed player on tour, Gawad’s languid style enables him to make the game look effortless and has earned comparisons with the legendary four-time World Champion Amr Shabana. Recent performances – including a runner-up finish in El Gouna and semi-final berths at the DPD Open and Grasshopper Cup – have hinted that the ‘Baby-faced Assassin’ is back at his former World No.1 best, a singal that will have his title-rivals looking over their shoulders.
*Miguel Rodriguez* The defending British Open champion, the flamboyant Miguel Rodriguez made history last year when he became the first South American ever to win the British Open and is arguably one of the most popular winners ever. With a dynamic, all-action and unorthodox style of play combined with a natural flair, Rodriguez is a crowd-favourite all around the world and has the ability and speed to beat any of the top players. But he will need to be at his very best from the first round to retain the crown next week.
*Mohamed Abouelghar* The youngest of Egypt’s seeded contenders, Mohamed Abouelghar is one of the country’s most exciting attacking talents and a player with an abundance of natural ability that can see him leave opponents simply powerless to respond. But a penchant for the unorthodox and a tendency to at times lose structure and focus on court have restricted this time in the latter stages of major events to date. If he can keep disciplined this week, he has all the skill needed to prevail.
*Diego Elias* Peruvian Diego Elias is another young player that is one of the tour’s most exciting talents. Elias possesses all the style and flair needed to succeed, but sometimes struggles with consistency to match the top players on the men’s tour. However title wins at the Canada Cup and Macau Open will have given the Peruvian confidence going into the sport’s longest-running tournament.
A prize purse of $324,000 is split evenly between the men’s and women’s draws, while matches from the glass court will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan). The semi-finals and finals will be shown live by broadcasters such as BT Sport, Fox Sports Australia, Astro and more.
Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.