Darwin’s new state-of-the-art squash centre will play host to its first international tournament when the NT Open kicks off on Thursday.
Players from across the globe have converged on the Darwin, Australia’s Northern Territory capital for the Open, a key part of the Australian Squash Tour, which moves to Alice Springs the following week,
The tournament has a truly international feel, with 12 countries represented this week.
Australian national squad members Rex Hedrick and Mike Corren head the men’s seeds, while Frenchwoman Coline Aumard and Dutch player Milou Van Der Heijden are the top two seeds in the women’s draw.
Squash Australia CEO Gary O’Donnell said players were looking forward to playing at the new Darwin centre after a year’s absence from the city while the centre was being constructed.
“The centre is not only a wonderful facility for Darwin, but it’s also one of the most up-to-date squash centres in the world,” O’Donnell said.
“We intend bringing the Commonwealth Games squad to Darwin this year to play on the doubles court and help them prepare for next year’s Games.”
Hedrick begins his campaign on Friday against a qualifier while Corren, the defending champion, takes on Englishman Tristan Eysele.
Third seeded New Zealander Evan Williams faces Malaysian Sanjay Singh, while Adelaide’s Justin Beard, the fourth seed, is up against a qualifier.
Aumard plays Queenslander Grace McErvale in her first match with Van Der Heijden to take on Melbourne’s Selena Shaikh.
Carrie Ramsay, the third seed from England, meets Queensland’s Natalie Newton and fourth seed Christine Nunn from Canberra is up against Melbourne’s Nicole Stoneham,
The men’s qualifying begins on Thursday, with the first round getting underway on Friday.
The women’s final will be at 4pm on Sunday, to be followed by the men at 5pm.