Future of Canary Wharf Squash Classic in doubt

April 20, 2023 - 8:46am
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The future of the Canary Wharf Squash Classic is in jeopardy due to logistical and financial issues.

In March, the hugely popular PSA World Tour Gold men’s tournament celebrated its 20th year at the iconic East Wintergarden venue in London, but the prospect of a return in 2024 hangs in the balance.

It’s understood the East Wintergarden’s new management company wish to make changes to the venue’s internal lay-out, including a staircase that may prevent the installation of a glass squash court and surrounding seating. There are also financial barriers to overcome.

Over its 20-year span, the tournament has been graced by the world’s top male players who revel in the intimate and often raucous atmosphere. Once again this year, every day at the 570-capacity, two-tiered venue sold out.

Tournament director Tim Garner spoke to Squash Mad reporter Camille Serme at the event last month. During a wide-ranging interview, Garner hinted at the barriers which are obstructing a 21st staging of the event next year.

Watch the full interview here:

He said: “They are planning a bit of a refurbishment and if they change things too much and we can’t fit what we need in here, that would be an issue.

“It was taken over by a new management company this year, so they are looking to change the venue in terms of how they pitch it to clients. It will be a discussion after this year as to where we go with it.”

This year’s event had a certain feeling of closure with the legendary Alan Thatcher – founding partner and joint promoter of the Canary Wharf Classic since it began in 2004 – announcing his retirement due to health issues. Garner also received a framed picture of the East Wintergarden to mark his long service to the event.

Garner told Squash Player magazine: “It was brilliant 20 years and the event was loved by players and loyal fans alike.

“There are a few challenges, financial and logistical, to overcome if we are to return for a 21st edition.

“If we can’t, we are on the look-out for an equally iconic venue in London. Perhaps fans will have some ideas. Bear in mind you have to get some very large bits of glass and steel into it!”

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