The kickoff luncheon to the 2015 Delaware Investments United States Open took place today. A capacity crowd of more than a hundred people came to the Union League Club to officially open the Open. The Union League’s clubhouse is a classic Philadelphia landmark, one-hundred and fifty years-old, situated on Broad Street just out of the shadow of the iconic William Penn statue atop City Hall, and famous for its twin circular stone staircases outside and delicious food inside.
Now a core annual event, the luncheon is a wonderful opportunity for sponsors, leaders and friends of the Open to mingle in an intimate setting with each other and with the world’s leading players. This year Nicol David, Mohamed Elshorbagy, Raneem El Welily and Simon Rosner attended.
Kevin Klipstein, the CEO of US Squash, welcomed representatives of all the sponsors—major, official, diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze—as well as all the many partners of the tournament. He noted that 118 players from twenty-five nations were playing in the Open, making it perhaps the most diverse professional squash tournament in American history.
It is the fifth straight year that Delaware Investments is the title sponsor of the U.S. Open. Scott Kearney, a senior vice president, spoke a little about the history of his firm: it was founded in 1929 and named after the Delaware River (not the state) and the firm’s offices, at 21st and Market Street, just a dozen blocks from the site of the Open in the Daskalakis Athletic Center, look out on to the Delaware. Kearney added that squash is a game of determination, focus and preparation but also sometimes about luck, just like investing in stocks and bonds.
“Welcome to the best ten days of squash in America,” said John Fry, the president of Drexel University and the chair of the board of US Squash. He recalled that this is the third year of parity for prize money at the Open. A revolutionary idea in 2013, it is now the norm at major squash tournaments around the world. He spoke convincingly about the future of the game. “The value of squash is beyond competition,” he said, pointing to the transformative urban squash movement, the nascent public outdoor court initiative and other efforts to ensure greater access to the game. “It expands opportunity.”[alpine-phototile-for-smugmug src=”user_gallery” ugal=”52489384″ ugalkey=”r3ZC8c” imgl=”smugmug” style=”gallery” row=”10″ grwidth=”800″ grheight=”600″ num=”200″ size=”Th” highlight=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]