The Professional Squash Association (PSA) is to trial a new best-of-three format during next year’s Canary Wharf Classic event.
The PSA M70 event will take place in March at London’s East Wintergarden, with each round-of-16 and quarter-final match to be played under the best-of-three format. The event will revert to the traditional best-of-five scoring system for the semi-finals and final.
“The best-of-three scoring system has featured in the season-ending World Series Finals for the past few years and has contributed to what have been some of the most intense and exciting matches of recent seasons,” PSA chief operating officer Lee Beachill said.
“Every point matters under the shorter format, a scenario that increases the intensity of the match from the opening exchange and as a sport it would be foolish not to explore the wider opportunities this format could bring to an event.
“For fans it will deliver a more intense viewing experience – which matches played at a higher, more explosive pace – while best-of-three matches also allow players greater recovery time between matches, essential for them to perform at their best day in, day out. We are excited to see how the format will work in practice during the Canary Wharf Classic.”
Today’s (Monday’s) announcement from the PSA comes after the organisation last month signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Squash Federation (WSF), through which the two bodies will work in unison towards achieving a joint vision for the future of the sport on a global scale.
The PSA organises the men’s and women’s professional squash tours. Its partnership with the WSF will focus on the development of a global strategy, focusing on objectives such as securing a place on the Olympic Games programme; maintaining squash’s presence on other international multi-sport games programmes; growing participation levels around the world; and encouraging the development of court facilities in conjunction with centres, local associations and national federations.
Squash has fought a long-running battle for Olympic inclusion, losing out on places at Tokyo 2020, Rio 2016 and London 2012.