As every year, I went to watch the Canon Kirk Irish Squash Open in Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club in Dublin. I normally write about the event on squashsite.co.uk but, lo and behold, someone was doing that already! Arthur Curran clearly took way better pictures than I ever did (I actually had people hold my Macbook in front of them in one year), but was also far more dedicated than I ever was. So that was a pleasant surprise - and he even went on to cover the event in Galway the week afterwards.
Anyway, the real highlight of the tournament was the ladies' final between Jaclyn Hawkes of New Zealand and Nour El Tayeb - the longest match in the history of women's squash lasting a startling 110mins. That was due to over 60 lets I would say, but it was utterly enthralling and ended in a 16:14 fifth set tiebreaker in El Tayeb's favour. El Tayeb plays a remarkable game - a bit like Ramy Ashour - and we saw her even diving around the court and doing some splits.
The Egyptian double was completed when Tarek Momen beat Stewart Boswell in the final. Momen just played drops from everywhere - which Stuart really hated. Momen was lucky to go through though as he was 0:2 down in the semis against Goshal of India, but he got injured and pulled out! I saw Goshal play Mustonen of Finland in round one, which until then was the best match of the tournament, as the two of them are probably within the top five fastest players in the world at this point, which made for exciting squash.
The other big news was that Vanessa Atkinson, former world number one, chose the Irish Open to be her last tournament on the WISPA tour. She lost in the semis here to El Tayeb,m and she said it was fitting that she made room for a younger generation "leaving the game in good hands". I always liked Atkinson a lot, not only because of the picture at the top, but also because she plays with great flair, touch and is a bit of a character.
Anyway, I thought it would be fitting to talk to her for the very first time and ask her for a picture, so here we are (as you can see she is a Serbia fan, too):