Squash in 2017 is set to start with an emphatic bang when the iconic J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions returns for its 20th anniversary amidst the grandeur of one of world sports most breathtaking locations – New York City's Grand Central Terminal – between January 12 – 19, 2017.
With the lure of competing in one of the world's most popular cities and with equality in prize money assured, the 24 top-ranking men’s and women’s players have been confirmed amidst a draw that will see 128 players descend on New York to compete for the first major honours of the year, and one of the sport's most sought after titles.
Defending champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Sherbini of Egypt, both of whom currently hold the respective World No.1 rankings, will face stiff competition to retain their titles, with ElShorbagy going up against a quartet of past champions in the form of Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, English duo James WIllstrop and Nick Matthew and Ramy Ashour of Egypt. El Sherbini meanwhile heads a women's draw that contain three previous champions; compatriot Raneem El Welily, Natalie Grinham of the Netherlands and Malaysia’s Nicol David.
El Sherbini faces a tricky first round encounter with unorthodox Hong Kong player Joey Chan before a potentially mammoth quarter-final encounter with David, while El Welily is seeded to meet American number one and 2016 runner-up Amanda Sobhy in a last eight encounter that will see a capacity crowd cheer on the US starlet.
In the men's draw Gaultier will face former World Junior Champion Diego Elias in one of the stand out first round encounters while Willstrop, the 2010 winner, will face 2014 semi-finalist and crowd favourite Miguel Angel Rodriguez in what promises to be a thrilling battle of styles. Should Willstrop come through then a second round encounter with perennial domestic rival Nick Matthew is likely to await while 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad and three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour are seeded to meet in an electrifying last eight encounter.
“It is fitting that on the 20th anniversary of staging the ToC in the awe-inspiring setting of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall we have been treated to one of the strongest line-ups and most compelling draws in the tournament's history,” said John Nimick, President of Squash Engine, Inc., the tournament promoter.
“To have all of the world's top male and female players, a host of current and past champions, and some of the most promising talents in the game come together for the first event of the year is incredibly exciting. The strength of the field is testament to the enthusiasm of the ToC crowds and the allure of competing on one of the sport’s grandest stages.”
“The uniqueness and energy of competing in Grand Central Terminal has created an unparalleled spectator experience for our onsite sell -out crowds, as well as fans worldwide who follow the action on live web-streaming or broadcast TV and we look forward to what promises to be another exciting edition of the ToC this January.”
Draw – Men's 2016 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Max Lee (HKG)
Borja Golan (ESP) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v [WC] Todd Harrity (USA)
Diego Elias (PER) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v [Qualifier]
James Willstrop (ENG) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Ali Farag (EGY)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Qualifier]
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Simon Rösner (GER) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Draw – Women's 2016 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Joey Chan (HKG)
[Qualifier] v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Annie Au (HKG) v [Qualifier]
Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v  Nicol David (MAS)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Tesni Evans (WAL)
[Qualifier] v  Joshna Chinappa (IND)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Heba El Torky (EGY)
[Qualifier] v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[WC] Natalie Grinham (NED) v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)
Delia Arnold (MAS) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) v Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND)
[Qualifier] v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
In 1995, the Tournament of Champions was one of the first events to be staged in Vanderbilt Hall when the venue was made available for public use. The 83-year-old tournament celebrates its 20th anniversary in Grand Central in 2017.
Tickets for the tournament range in price from $8 to $170 and can be purchased online at www.tocsquash.com