Karim Darwish and Amr Shabana will lead a group of seven Egyptian squash players listed in the main draw for this year’s J. P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, which will kick off Friday, 20 January, in New York.
In fifth place worldwide, Darwish is eager to win his first title, while world number-six Shabana will try to clinch his third after having taken it home in 2006 and 2007.
A former world champion, the 32-year-old Shabana won his first England-based tournament, the World Series, earlier this month.
The $115,000 prize will not be an easy hunt, especially for seventh-seeded Mohamed El-Shorbagy and four un-seeded Egyptians: Hisham Mohamed Ashour, Tarek Momen, Mohamed Ali Anwar Reda and Wael El-Hindi.
The 32 competitors will include top-seeded English players three-time runner-up Nick Matthew (2006, 2009 and 2011) and James Willstrop (2010 winner and 2008 runner-up).
Three other Egyptians are competing in the qualifiers: British Open and world junior champion Marwan El-Shorbagy, Amr Khaled Khalifa and Mohammed Abbas.
Ramy Ashour, who won the title in 2008 and 2011 and finished second in 2010, will miss this year’s Grand Central Terminal event.
The tournament, which represents one of the most coveted titles of the Professional Squash Association, will this year celebrate 15 years of competition.
The round-one draw is as follows:
Nick Matthew (England) vs. Wael El-Hindi (Egypt)
Adrian Grant (England) vs. Qualifier
Olli Tuominen (Finland) vs. Cameron Pilley (Australia)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pakistan) vs. Mohamed El-Shorbagy (Egypt)
Amr Shabana (Egypt) vs. Mohamed Ali Anwar Reda (Egypt)
Hisham Mohamed Ashour (Egypt) vs. Qualifier
Nicolas Mueller (Switzerland) vs. Qualifier
Borja Golan Santin (Spain) vs. Gregory Gaultier (France)
Karim Darwish (Egypt) vs. Daryl Selby (England)
Simon Rosner (Germany) vs. Tarek Momen (Egypt)
Tom Richards (England) vs. Qualifier
TBC vs. Thierry Lincou (France)
Peter Barker (England) vs. Qualifier
Shahier Razik (Canada) vs. Julian Illingworth (United States)
Alister Walker (Botswana) vs. Qualifier
Qualifier vs. James Willstrop (England)