World No. 1 Nicol David enters U.S. Open: 64 men and women vie for equal prize money

Eight of the world’s top 10 women’s professionals have entered the Delaware Investments U.S. Open hoping to dethrone defending champion and world No. 1 Nicol David in the first U.S. Open offering parity with the men in both prize money and draw size.

The U.S. Open will offer $230,000 in total prize money to the men and women making it the largest prize money parity tournament in history.

On the men’s side, world No. 1 Ramy Ashour will not return to defend his 2012 U.S. Open title, leaving the field wide open for the remaining top 10 players, all of whom are entered, to battle for the $115,000 purse.

Nicole_KingDavid enters the tournament at the start of her eighth straight year as world No. 1, and is coming off a gold medal finish at the World Games in Cali, Colombia last month.

In May, the soon to be 30-year-old Malaysian was defeated in the final of the Allam British Open, the most recent Women’s Squash Association World Series Event, at the hand of English international and world No. 2 Laura Massaro who will hope to repeat her British Open performance should the world’s top two players meet on court again in Philadelphia.

2012 Men’s finalist, 2006 U.S. Open champion and world No. 2 Gregory Gaultier will lead the men’s field, which includes former U.S. Open Champions Nick Matthew and Amr Shabana.

The Frenchman, also coming off a gold medal finish at the 2013 World Games last month, will be seeded to win his second U.S Open title in the absence of Ashour.

View all men’s entrants here, and women’s entrants here.

Draws will be released at a later date.

Gaultier_Willstrop 2In the wake of his U.S. Open absence, Ashour has cited personal reasons as the cause for missing North America’s largest prize money event.

“It very much saddens me not to take part in the amazing, prestigious U.S. Open event and not to be able to defend my title, which is due to some personal reasons,” The 25 year old Egyptian said.

“I am sure the event will be a great success as it has always been and will keep growing with the support of the passionate sponsors and U.S. Squash. Hopefully I will be able to participate next year. Good luck to all the players!”

“We are going to miss having Ramy at the 2013 U.S. Open,” said Kevin Klipstein, CEO of U.S. Squash.

“We’re proud to have him as our 2012 champion, and the sport should be very proud and appreciative to have our World no. 1’s to put so much into the 2020 Olympic bid campaign and be willing to serve as the face of the sport to promote squash and our chances to be included in the Olympic Games. We look forward to welcoming him back next year.”

Locally, pre-qualifiers have played out to the finals, which will be contested in Philadelphia on September 17 with a spot in U.S. Open qualifying on the line.

The pre-qualifying finals night will be open to the general public followed by a U.S. Open reception.

Men’s pre-qualifying finals:

Alex Stait vs. Imran Khan

Gavin Jones vs. Jamie Macaulay

View complete Men’s pre-qualifying draw

Women’s pre-qualifying final:

Olivia Fiechter vs. Georgina Stoker

View complete Women’s pre-qualifying draw

To purchase tickets to the 2013 Delaware Investments U.S. Open, taking place October 9-18 at the Daskalakis Athletic Center, click here.