By Beth Treffeisen
For the 26th year in a row, the University Club on Stuart Street in Boston will be hosting the international Squash Doubles Tournament.
Running from Wednesday, January 4 to Sunday January 8, the 2017 Massachusetts Financial Services (MFS) Pro-Am Doubles will be hosting players from around the world to compete for a cash prize of $40,000.
Tournaments will include both professional men and women along with Pro-Am or teams made up of one professional player and one amateur. There are 21 teams in the open Squash Doubles Pro tournament and six in the women’s tournament.
In the Pro-Am there will be 11 teams competing for two open spaces.
Funding for the event comes from the title sponsor of MFS Financial Management along with the Associate Sponsors of Sapient Global Markets and Windsor Capital. Other funding comes from the Pro-Am players and from patrons who watch the match.
On Wednesday, January 4, qualifying begins in the Squash Doubles Association (SDA) Pro Draw. Two of the matches will feature local players.
At noon, the team of Julian Kirby and Ryan Mullaney will play against Doug Lifford and Pat Malloy. The following match will have Patrick Haynes and Hameed Ahmed against Amanda Sobhy and Suzie Pierrepont. The winners of these two matches will play again later on Wednesday.
The SDA has no gender restrictions and women can play in events if they want to. Both Sobhy and Pierrepont are entered in the women’s tournament as well. Their first match in that draw will be Friday, January 6.
“I want to crush the boys,” joked Sobhy who is based out of the University Club.
Originally from Long Island, New York, Sobhy graduated from Harvard University after completing a degree in social anthropology and was named Women’s Young Player of the Year in May 2015. She reached her first World Series final in January 2016’s Tournament of Champions in New York.
After reaching the semifinals of two World Series of PSA tournaments, Sobhy ranks seventh in the world, as of this past Friday.
“Now I need to crack into the top five,” said Sobhy.
Sobhy now lives in the Back Bay and looks forward to competing for the first time in this tournament next week.
“It’s nice to live in the hub of all the squash courts,” said Sobhy.
The University Club is known for its squash facilities that hold two of the few doubles courts in Boston. For years, the club has been the site of many state, regional, and national tournaments. Many members have gone on to being national champions.
“There is a living tradition of training squash players and having squash programs here,” said Lenny Bernheimer of the tournament committee. “It’s got a great professional staff and a lot of very good players.”
During the tournament, Bernheimer said, it will get really crowded and it will be standing room only. For the first time this year they will try putting additional seating in the opposing court while it is not being used to help accomodate the many patrons.
“We’ll be totally packed and a lot people who want to see it won’t be able to,” said Bernheimer.
For those who can’t make it to the tournament it will be streamed live at www.sdaprotour.com.