Men’s £22k PSA Challenger, 08-12 Sep, Georgia, USA
Top seed Victor Crouin beats unseeded Aly Abou Eleinen to claim his biggest title to date
- World #37 Victor Crouin of France, 2019 Marietta Open Champion, set for title defense as #1 seed
- 24-player draw features 12 Top 100 ranked players, 13 different nationalities, four Americans
- The Sep. 8-12 event will be a fundraiser for Good Samaritan Health Center of Cobb
The SouthState Bank Marietta Open, the largest and more prestigious professional sporting event in Marietta, is set to return for its 2021 edition Sep 8-12 at Old School Brewery & Squash Club, a private club in Marietta.
The tournament, a Professional Squash Association (PSA)-sanctioned Challenger Tour event, will feature 24 professional athletes representing 13 different countries and a $22,500 purse, more than double the 2019 event and what is thought to be the largest ever offered in the U.S. south of Richmond. Title sponsor SouthState Bank (formerly CenterState Bank) is joined by Envirospark Energy, an electric vehicle charging solution company, The Lawn Doctor of Marietta and R. Balko, LLC, a Marietta builder, as major sponsors.
The tournament will once again be a fundraiser for Good Samaritan Health Center of Cobb, which has been providing quality medical, dental, and dispensary services to low income families in need for more than 15 years. All matches are open to the public and free to attend, though donations will be solicited. Matches will also be broadcast live on the SouthState Bank Marietta Open facebook page.
The increased prize money drew increased interest from the world’s top squash professionals. Despite a competing tournament in Cairo with a $165,000 purse, the SSBMO features twelve Top 100 players.
#1 seed Victor Crouin, who is also currently the #1 player on the Harvard University squash team, returns to defend his Marietta Open title, his ranking having risen from #64 in 2019 to #37 at present. Two other Top 50 players, Alan Clyne (#42) of Scotland and Nathan Lake (#46) of England, join Mexico’s Leonel Cardenas (#52) as top seeds, #2-4, respectively. Crouin defeated Cardenas in a tight 3 games-to-2 match in the 2019 Marietta Open semifinals.
American interest starts with the #5 seed, journeyman pro Christopher Gordon (WR #70), who hails from Queens, NY. Spencer Lovejoy of Stamford, CT, former captain of the Yale University squash team, has ridden a wave of good results in 2021 and enters the SSBMO as the #7 seed at his highest career ranking of #79 and the newest American member of the World Top 100. WR #117, Timmy Brownell, a recent graduate of Harvard and crowd favorite at the 2019 Marietta Open, and Atlanta local Aaron Luque round out the Americans in the draw.
The top eight seeds, which also include WR#76 Mohammad Syafiq Kamal of Malaysia and WR#83 Daniel Mekbib of The Czech Republic, will enjoy a bye on Wednesday, Sep. 8 as the bottom 16 seeds play a first round at Atlanta Community Squash on Collier Rd. in Atlanta from 6-9 P.M. The eight winners will advance to Marietta for a second round on Thursday against the top seeds. Play will continue with subsequent rounds each day, culminating in the finals Sunday at 1:30 P.M.
“Thanks to title sponsor SouthState Bank and other local businesses, we will stage, once again, the premier professional sporting event in Marietta,” said Jonathan McMurry, Marietta resident, squash enthusiast and tournament promoter.
Wes Smith, Senior Vice President of SouthState, added “It’s amazing what Jonathan has been able to accomplish with this tournament. With multiple top 50 players coming in from all over the world to play here in Marietta, it’s both a global and community event. SouthState is very excited to once again be a part of the Marietta Open and provide support for such a wonderful cause as the Good Samaritan Health Center of Cobb.”
Additional support will be provided by local Marietta families, who will ‘billet’ players in their homes during the tournament. “Our hope is not only to stage a unique and uniquely fun event for players and spectators, but also to raise an amount at least equivalent to the purse for donation to Good Samaritan. If you’ve never seen pro squash, you will be amazed at the skill and athleticism of the players and the beauty of the game. And if you’re unfamiliar with Good Sam Cobb, you’ll likewise be amazed at their skills. Last year, they dispensed over $14 million worth of care during almost 29,000 patient visits,” said McMurry. The 2019 event yielded a $12,439.39 donation to Good Sam. With sponsors having paid for the prize purse, all net proceeds will be donated to Good Sam.
COVID-19 mitigation measures will be in force. In addition to on- and off-court protocols, players will be required to submit negative test results to the PSA prior to travel and will be tested again prior to play. Vaccination is required for players staying with local families. Spectators are encouraged to get vaccinated and masks will be encouraged but not required. All persons attend at their own risk per the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act.
For more information including ticketing (courtside seating is reserved for sponsors and patrons) and sponsorship opportunities, contact Jonathan McMurry at MariettaSquashOpen@gmail.com