Curtain down for Toddy Harrity

USA’s Todd Harrity has called time on his career, announcing his retirement from professional squash after 11 years on tour.

PSA Reports

Harrity has been playing on the PSA World Tour since 2013, capturing four PSA titles. He reached the highest ranking of World No.32, claiming three US National titles and winning two Gold medals at the Pan American Games. Harrity reached the top 100 in the world in 2014 and has never left, showing how consistent he was every season.

The American studied at Princeton University and was able to kickstart his professional squash career by receiving local spots and wildcards into one of the most iconic events on the PSA calendar, the J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions. That gesture opened doors for Harrity and was a big factor in his decision to turn professional in the first place.

“It was fantastic,” said Harrity.

“John Nimick [ToC Tournament Director] was giving me the wildcard for the ToC when I was at university at Princeton. So that was great. It kind of sparked my interest and enthusiasm. It was a great opportunity to get to play in a major tournament like that. But the real full-time training and taking pro squash really seriously didn’t happen until after I graduated.

“Back then at the time that I did, turning professional was definitely a strange decision to make for an American player coming out of university. There were only a couple of players that had ever done it before. There was Chris Gordon, Julian Illingworth and Gilly Lane before then. But apart from that, there wasn’t anyone on my radar.

“US Squash had a big part in it. I remember when I was first deciding what to do, US Squash called me and said that they wanted to encourage more Americans to go pro and that they were going to start providing more funding and that I would be the first player to really benefit from it. So that impacted my decision because financially it was a bit better. Actually, early on, I used to coach a few summer camp sessions for Peter Nicol, and he had encouraging words for me, he thought I was good and had the potential to do well on the tour and said the game needs an American player, so it was really those things that impacted my decision to go pro.”

Harrity attended Princeton University from 2009-2013, studying Psychology. In addition to his studies, Harrity was a vital member of the squash team and always carried the love of playing on a team with him throughout his career.

“I had a fantastic time. It was a lot of fun. I loved being a part of a team as well. The squash players that I was seeing and training with every day were all good friends. We got along very well. It was a big part of my time at university, and I loved those team matches.

“It was similar to playing on the US national team, you’re going out and playing a match but not just for you. You’re playing for your friends and your team and it’s a nice feeling to be playing for more than just yourself and being a part of something bigger than just you. So I’d say that the pro tour afterwards seemed a little lonely to me when I went pro after university, I didn’t quite anticipate that.”

Upon joining the PSA tour on a full-time basis, the American admits that the challenge of now competing alone was daunting and something that was challenging in the early days. Another challenge that faced Harrity later in his career was being the leading US male player in the rankings for many years, but he never saw himself in that way.

“There were a lot of challenges for me on the pro tour. Definitely, with it being a very solo endeavor, it was lonely. The constant traveling as well, It’s one of the things that’s maybe impacted my decision now that I’m a lot older. It’s that lifestyle of living out of your suitcase and traveling, going from tournament to tournament. It’s always a new place, a new strange city where you don’t know people. I had my friends on tour, of course, but in another sense, you are also by yourself. So that was a challenge.

“I did feel pressure and dealing with pressure was also a challenge for me. I did spend a lot of time doing the mental and psychological work on how to handle and deal with with pressure. I know it wasn’t just me, there were other players too. Chris Hanson was playing and we had a good rivalry amongst us. Chris Gordon as well. But I suppose for a lot of my career, I was the top ranked US player on the men’s tour. I didn’t necessarily see myself as the No.1 or the face of US squash in that way, but I did definitely feel pressure. But I think that is just part of the job.”

Harrity’s biggest PSA title came at the 2nd HCL SRFI Indian Tour – Chennai Leg 1 in April 2021, a Challenger 20 event. Harrity was the No.2 seed for the event and had to deal with more than just playing squash during a crazy event, but he was delighted to pick up the title at the end of the challenging week and explains that the winning feeling will be hard to replicate.

“That was a great effort. It was a tough tournament and that event was crazy. There was a COVID issue early in the event so the start date was actually a couple of days later than it was supposed to be and we were quarantined in our rooms for a while.

“I remember meditating a lot and trying to just handle things as best I could. There were some difficult matches where I almost mentally broke down, but I just managed to stay with it. It was such an amazing feeling winning that tournament.

“That win was my biggest PSA win but I’m extremely proud that I won three US National titles as well. Winning events will be a feeling I will miss. It’s just such a thrill and such a high that I don’t see being replicated in another field.”

The 33-year-old became the first openly gay male player in 2018, and admits that his decision to make the information public was purely personal, and he was happy with the response that it received despite his fears.

“Everyone was so supportive. It was interesting how I anticipated it being a problem. But it wasn’t at all. I didn’t lose a single friend. Everyone who was my friend before, was still my friend after and I didn’t notice anyone treating me differently. I did it only for personal reasons, it would just make my life easier to not have to dodge questions anymore, or have to lie or be vague when things come up, I just wanted to be able to be myself.

During his final season on the PSA World Tour, Harrity struggled in the first half of the season but found good form in 2024 and showed his quality on several occasions.

“I had been struggling for a while before the start of 2024 and I took some time off and didn’t play in December or January of this past season and then sort of worked on myself physically and mentally and came back to the tour playing well, and I had some good wins. Whether those were wins or not, I’m really glad that I experienced playing well again and experienced the joy of playing those matches.

“It really started for me at the Squash on Fire Open. I had a tough round first round which I managed to sneak through in five and then played really well in my next two matches against Omar Mossad and Youssef Soliman.

“I then played well in Chicago and Optasia, so I felt happy with that, and I’m glad that I’m not leaving the game in a rut where I had no confidence and was really not playing well for a long time.

“I’m leaving the game on good terms and my reasons for leaving are more psychological than physical. I just feel that I’m satisfied with my effort, it’s been a great experience. But I just I know that I’m ready to move on and I’m excited to see what’s next for me.”