US Squash has announced the dates for the 2021 U.S. Open Squash Championships, marking a key milestone in the comeback of the sport. The PSA World Tour Platinum tournament – the highest level on the professional tour – will be held October 1-8, 2021, for the first time at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center.
The best professional squash players from around the world—forty-eight women and forty-eight men—will descend on Philadelphia to compete for the coveted U.S. Open title and equal prize purses. In 2013, the U.S. Open led the charge for pay equality for the sport’s professional game, becoming the first major tournament to offer prize money parity.
In its return after the 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic, the 2021 U.S. Open marks the 10th edition of the event run in partnership between US Squash and Drexel University, during which time the event has secured its place as one of the world’s most prestigious events, and a mainstay on the Philadelphia sports calendar.
The U.S. Open will anchor the opening season of the Specter Center on Drexel University’s campus in Philadelphia’s burgeoning University City. “When Drexel and US Squash first partnered on the U.S. Open more than ten years ago, we believed it would bring international attention to Philadelphia and make a significant impact on the sport in the U.S.,” said John Fry, president of Drexel University. “We are very proud to be part of this ten-year milestone at the Specter Center, the U.S. Open’s new home.”
As the new nexus of the sport in the U.S., the Specter Center will connect all threads of the squash community – the facility will anchor the US Squash Community Affiliate Network and provide broad community access from its location in one of twenty-two federally-designated Promise Zone neighborhoods, while at the same time delivering an innovative broadcast and entertainment venue that will amplify the presentation of events like the U.S. Open.
With a total of eighteen singles courts and two hardball doubles courts, the Specter Center will also house the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame, offer world-class high-performance training resources to Team USA athletes, serve as the US Squash national headquarters and operate a Learning & Innovation Center in partnership with SquashSmarts, Philadelphia’s award-winning urban squash and education program.
The Specter Center will begin hosting limited activities this spring with a gradual ramping up of activity through the summer, leading into full programming in the fall and a grand opening event during the U.S. Open.
Defending their 2019 U.S. Open titles will be world No. 2 Noran Gohar and world No. 1 Ali Farag. However, the stars of Team USA will aim to recapture the U.S. Open trophy on home turf – the U.S. has four women in the top 25 for the first time, including U.S. No. 1 Amanda Sobhy who is now at a career-high world No. 5 ranking and reached the final of her most recent PSA platinum event, the Black Ball Open in Egypt last month.
“Cancelling the 2020 event was an obvious yet still difficult decision, and the professionals have suffered this last year,” said Kevin Klipstein, president & CEO of US Squash. “We are very pleased to be able to put the U.S. Open back on the calendar to celebrate and showcase their incredible athleticism. The Specter Center will be a magnificent venue: comfortable and welcoming to players and the community, and at the same time, capable of hosting world-class events such as this. To have the tenth hosting in Philadelphia be the first at the center is special, and none of it would have been possible without Drexel’s early and generous support.”
Tickets for the U.S. Open are expected to go on sale in June of 2021.