France’s World No.1 Gregory Gaultier is relishing defending his title when the UCS Swedish Open takes place February 8-11 at Linköping Sporthall.
The tournament – which first began in the 1970s and the 2018 edition will see ActiPro Event celebrate their 15th year running the tournament – will see a high-quality draw battle it out for the PSA M70 title, with the likes of World No.3 Ali Farag and J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions winner Simon Rösner and runner-up Tarek Momen joining the current World No.1 at the event.
The charismatic Frenchman – who is a three-time winner at the Swedish Open – saw off 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad by an 7-11, 11-3, 11-0, 11-8 scoreline in the final last year and Gaultier is looking forward to playing at the tournament in Linköping once again this year.
“I’ve been playing Sweden since the first edition”, said the 35-year-old.
“At my first event there I remember beating [PSA Chief Executive and former World No.5] Alex Gough in round one. I keep playing there because I’ve known them for many years and they always do such a great job.
“It’s always full, they do a really good job with marketing and you can see all of the signs and photos in the city – I think we should take example from them when you see what kind of an event they can put on.”
Gaultier will start his title defence against compatriot and World No.27 Mathieu Castagnet and is keen to see more European events follow in the Swedish Open’s footsteps in the future.
“I want to encourage more people to organise tournaments in Europe,” said Gaultier.
“We travel so much and so far away that it’s good to have tournaments close by and in Europe.
“As long as the tournament will be there then I will keep going to encourage [Tournament Promoter] Fredrik Johnson and all of these guys that love squash so much. They always put on a successful event.”
Qualification for the tournament takes place between February 6-7 at Linköping Squash Center and Norrköping Squash Center, with main draw matches taking place on the glass court at Linköping Sporthall between February 8-11.
All main draw matches will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while tickets start from 100 SEK and can be purchased on the tournament website.
Main Draw – 2018 UCS Swedish Open
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
[Qualifier] v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Paul Coll (NZL) v [Qualifier]
[WC] Rasmus Hult (SWE) v  Omar Mosaad (EGY)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Ali Farag (EGY)