The Women's International Squash Players' Association is celebrating the return of the New Zealand Open, one of the most prestigious events on the international Squash circuit until the mid-nineties.
The $55,500 WISPA World Tour Gold event will take place in Mount Maunganui, near Tauranga (two hours from Auckland) from 11-16 August.
The resurrection of the popular championship marks a giant step forward in the resurgence of Squash in New Zealand. The tournament, which has not been contested since 1996, will return as part of the highly successful Mount Maunganui Festival of Squash and will be played on the glass court inside the Bayfair Shopping Centre in Mount Maunganui.
The event – which is sure to attract the world's top players - will be the third WISPA Gold event in August, following the CIMB Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur from 29 July to 1 August, and CIMB Singapore Masters from 5-8 August (which should be confirmed shortly).
The New Zealand Women's Open has a proud history, with former winners including New Zealand's Dame Susan Devoy (8 times) and Australian stars Vicki Cardwell, Michelle Martin and Sarah Fitz-Gerald.
Dame Susan says the announcement is great news. She says it is awesome for Squash New Zealand as every sport needs a flagship and they have not had one for a long time.
Andrew Shelley, Chief Executive of WISPA, said: "New Zealand has been a powerhouse of world squash, but with their national open title having not been held for over ten years so many of our top players have never been there. Now all that changes with the great news that not only is the New Zealand Open back, but in some style.
"An all glass court at Bay Fair Shopping Centre in Mount Maunganui will be the exciting host of the final rounds, ensuring that the world can see the action.
"Exciting times for Kiwi players and women's international squash as a whole!"
photos Janos Schmidt