The Czech Open is the first tournament of a very busy week on the Challenger Tour, with the action beginning on Monday 15 November at Centrum Viktoria in Brno.
World No.18 Emily Whitlock will be the highest ranked player at the Challenger 20 level tournament, with the Welshwoman leading the way in the women’s event, closely followed by France’s Melissa Alves.
Another Frenchwoman, in Enora Villard, and Finland’s Emilia Soini are the other members of the top 50 in the World Rankings in action, while there are 14 top 100 players in action in the women’s event.
Latvia’s Ineta Mackevica, Czech No.1 and home favourite Anna Serme, Dutchwoman Tessa ter Sluis and Swiss No.2 Nadia Pfister will be the rest of the top eight seeds for the tournament.
The European feel continues into the men’s draw, with only Japan’s Ryosei Kobayashi and Colombian No.2 Juan Camilo Vargas as the non-Europeans in action in the men’s event in Brno.
The top two Czech players, in Daniel Mekbib and Martin Svec, will be inside the top eight seeds, joining the French duo of Sebastien Bonmalais and Lucas Serme, Spain’s Bernat Jaume and Japanese No.1 Kobayashi.
Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller and Dimitri Steinmann will be among the contenders for the title, and we spoke to the former, the men’s top seed, prior to the event starting on Monday.
“I’m pretty happy the way I am playing at the moment, hitting the ball nicely and cleanly. That’s when I am the most dangerous I think, when my ball striking is up to the task,” he explained.
The World No.31 has had a string of second round results in the major tournaments in 2021, including at the PSA World Championships in Chicago. He believes that when he is at his best, he knows he can go further.
“To be fair, apart from my match with Mazen [Hesham] in El Gouna where I had a couple of match balls and I couldn’t convert, I was far away as I hadn’t really been on top of my game,” the Swiss No.1 admitted.
“I know I can (and have beaten) beat a lot of guys which are ranked above me when I’m ‘on’, I just have to make sure I am ‘on’ more often and it will come naturally again.”
The Swiss No.1 will be the top seed for the tournament, and he loves the extra pressure. He is also looking forward to representing his country once again at the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championships in Kuala Lumpur next month.
“Obviously when you’re the top seed for an event, you don’t just go there to have a good time, the intention is clear that you want to win the tournament. There is added pressure for sure, but I like the extra pressure,” Mueller said.
“I love putting on that Swiss shirt and playing alongside my team mates, it gives me an extra motivational push. On paper we have the strongest Swiss team ever, hopefully we can capitalise on that.”
The event takes place from Monday 15 to Friday 19 November at the Centrum Viktoria in Brno, where Nicolas Mueller is the top seed for the men’s tournament. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.
Action from Brno will be streamed throughout the week on the PSA Challenger Tour YouTube channel, where you can watch Challenger Tour action, and interviews with rising stars.
Men’s First Round Draw: Czech Open
 Nicolas Mueller (SUI) – [Bye]
Joeri Hapers (BEL) v [9/16] Aqeel Rehman (AUT)
[9/16] Viktor Byrtus (CZE) v [WC] Marek Panacek (CZE)
 Daniel Mekbib (CZE) – [Bye]
 Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN) – [Bye]
Ondrej Uherka (CZE) v [9/16] Juan Camilo Vargas (COL)
[9/16] Yannick Wilhelmi (SUI) v [WC] David Zeman (CZE)
 Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) – [Bye]
 Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) – [Bye]
Roshan Bharos (NED) v [9/16] Valentin Rapp (GER)
[9/16] Sean Conroy (IRL) v Yuri Furneti (ITA)
 Bernat Jaume (ESP) – [Bye]
 Martin Svec (CZE) – [Bye]
Miles Jenkins (ENG) v [9/16] Robert Downer (ENG)
[9/16] Ivan Perez (ESP) v Vladislav Titov (RUS)
 Lucas Serme (FRA) – [Bye]
Women’s First Round Draw: Czech Open
 Emily Whitlock (WAL) – [Bye]
Saskia Beinhard (GER) v [9/16] Eva Fertekova (CZE)
[9/16] Lily Taylor (ENG) v Sofie Hausknotzova (CZE)
 Tessa ter Sluis (NED) – [Bye]
 Nadia Pfister (SUI) – [Bye]
[WC] Teresa Siroka (CZE) v [9/16] Anna Kimberley (ENG)
[9/16] Marie Stephan (FRA) v Sofia Mateos (ESP)
 Emilia Soini (FIN) – [Bye]
 Enora Villard (FRA) – [Bye]
Elise Romba (FRA) v [9/16] Grace Gear (ENG)
[9/16] Cristina Gomez (ESP) v [WC] Tamara Holzbauerova (CZE)
 Anna Serme (CZE) – [Bye]
 Ineta Mackevica (LAT) – [Bye]
Jacqueline Peychar (AUT) v [9/16] Lucy Beecroft (ENG)
[9/16] Celine Walser (SUI) v Katerina Tycova (GER)
 Melissa Alves (FRA) – [Bye]