The Henderson Rochelle Hobbs Open will be the first event to take place in New Zealand in the 2020/2021 PSA World Tour season when it takes place this week in Auckland.
The Henderson Squash Club will play host to the Challenger 5 level tournament, which is restricted to only domestic players, like all events on the Challenger Tour currently are, so only players based in New Zealand were allowed to enter.
All 16 men in the draw reside from the nation, with two of those having played for their country at the 2019 WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championships in Washington, D.C. World No.87 Evan Williams and World No.149 Lwamba Chileshe will be the top two seeds for the tournament this week.
We caught up with the former prior to the tournament, with the Kiwi No.2, behind only World No.4 Paul Coll, looking forward to playing on the PSA World Tour again after almost a year.
“It feels fantastic to be able to play a PSA event again, it has been severely missed these past 11 months. In terms of playing though we have been so lucky in New Zealand to be able to do what we have,” he admitted.
“It’s hard to know exactly where my game is at seeing as it is the first event of the year. Being experienced though I feel like I am tracking well. [I am] happy with my fitness and my coach is happy with how I’m hitting it so I’m looking forward to finding out.”
Williams was in great form before the tour’s suspension due to COVID-19, having reached at least the semi-finals in 10 of his last 11 events, including grabbing a win at the ILT & Community Trust NZ Southern PSA Open in 2019.
The 31-year-old believes that, despite being the top seed for the tournament, there will be no extra pressure on his shoulders, as every player is at the same level going into the event.
“No pressure at all being the top seed. We are all starting from scratch and will have a few things to iron out as the event goes along. I’m lucky I’ve done this for many years now,” Williams said.
“It absolutely helps as we know everyone in the draw so analysis becomes easier. Going to be great to see so many familiar and friendly faces too.”
The event takes place from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 February at the Henderson Squash Club in Auckland, where Evan Williams is the top seed for the tournament. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.
First Round Draw: Henderson Rochelle Hobbs Open
 Evan Williams (NZL) v Joe Smythe (NZL)
Benjamin Adams (NZL) v  Temwa Chileshe (NZL)
 Glenn Templeton (NZL) v Lance Beddoes (NZL)
Apa Fatialofa Junior (NZL) v  Sion Wiggin (NZL)
 Zac Millar (NZL) v Finn Trimble (NZL)
Leo Fatialofa (NZL) v  Joel Arscott (NZL)
 Elijah Thomas (NZL) v Riley-Jack Vette-Blomquist (NZL)
Mason Smales (NZL) v  Lwamba Chileshe (NZL)