Women’s Squash Rebrands for a New Era
A new name has been chosen by the governing body of women's squash to
reflect the dynamic changes in the game.
Determined to build on the achievements of its parent organisation, the
Women's International Squash Players’ Association (WISPA), the Women’s
Squash Association (WSA) will be born on January 1st 2012, Olympic year.
With the women’s tour already composed of 70 tournaments across five
continents and boasting a growing membership approaching 400, the governing
body is ready for its journey into a rapidly changing new era.
The change from WISPA to WSA, which will also incorporate a new logo and
website design, was decided by unanimous vote at WISPA’s Annual General
Meeting during last week’s highly successful World Open in Rotterdam.
The newly-inaugurated WSA will begin 2012 with tournaments in the USA.
Its leading player, Malaysia’s Nicol David, is an Asian superstar, and the
recent World Open produced an Indian quarter-finalist and a Mexican
semi-finalist for the first time, reflecting its global presence.
Central to WSA’s ambitions will be further co-operation with the men’s tour,
the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and the game’s governing body, the
World Squash Federation (WSF), further enhancing squash’s bid for inclusion
in the Olympic Programme for 2020.
WISPA Chairman and acting Chief Executive Officer Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer
said: “The new name will make women's squash a much more distinct brand,
further enhancing our marketing potential for sponsors. The next two years
are very important for squash. Our game is now truly global, television
coverage of the World Series with our friends at PSA has improved
dramatically giving us exciting new audiences and the Olympic decision for
2020 is pending. It’s exciting; we can’t wait for the challenge.”
Tournaments until the end of December will still be branded as WISPA, after
which a new website for the WSA will be launched early in the New Year and
will become the hub for the latest news and events in women's squash.
Sam steps down
WISPA's Chief Administrator
Sam Mueller has decided to step
down from her role after almost 18 months in the job
Sam joined WISPA at a time of major transition last year and
worked incredibly hard to streamline WISPA’s operation and
settle the association into the new offices at Queens.
Having worked in major city firm Rothschild for 17 years she
was able to bring skills from the world of banking that
assisted WISPA’s move into the modern era.
Sam's office experience made a big impact at WISPA, however,
it was her passion for the game that was such an added
asset. As an England over 35 International she knows what
it's like to play at a high level and could relate to the
girls on the tour. This gave her a great working
relationship with all the players and gave them the
confidence that as well as looking at things from an
administrator point of view she would also understand a
Having got WISPA in to a position where it is well equipped
to deal with the demands of being a modern association she
has decided to move on and invest some time in other
ventures. As well as being an active player on the
International Vets circuit, she is building up a busy
coaching schedule in Buckinghamshire helping to develop
junior players and encouraging new players.
As Chairman on behalf of the Board and all at WISPA we would
like to thank Sam for all her hard work and we wish her all
the best in the future, no doubt she will be successful in
whatever she decides to take on.
has been great working with Sam during the transition from the
previous structure to a more fluid and versatile set-up. Whilst she
will be a massive loss, I am sure that the changes she has made and
the procedures she has put in place will help WISPA go from strength to
strength. I am sure she will be successful in whatever she
turns her hand to and wish her the best of luck on and off
WISPA Tour Director
behalf of the players I would like to thank Sam for all her hard
work over the past 18 months. I wish her the best of luck with all
her future endeavours."
Acting WISPA President
Howard Harding steps down from WISPA
After 15 years as the World Media Director for WISPA,
Howard Harding will be stepping down as they move PR and
media services 'in-house'. Howard will continue to provide
the regular 'World Squash News' service on behalf of WSF and
Howard has provided a high level of service and media
expertise since 1996 and has done a great deal to raise the
profile of women’s squash in the press and the world wide
WISPA Chairman and acting CEO Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer said “I
would like to thank Howard for all his effort and hard work,
as well as helping Elliot settling into his position at
WISPA. His passion for the game has been evident throughout
his work and on behalf of the Board - and personally - I
wish him every success for his future endeavors.”
WISPA President Jaclyn Hawkes also had this to say “On
behalf of the players I would like to thank Howard for all
his hard work and many entertaining reports over the past 15
CIMB Malaysian Open becomes
World Series Event
WISPA is pleased to announce that the 2011 CIMB Malaysian
Open will this year become part of the WISPA World
Series and boast the biggest prize fund in the event's
The move sees the prize fund move up to $60,000 and the
event becomes the seventh tournament to join the prestigious
group of tournaments on the rebranded WISPA World Series,
the top tier of Women’s Squash.
The Malaysian National Squash Centre in Kuala Lumpur will
once again play host, from 18th-23rd July. The
Quarter Finals onwards will be played on the all glass court
at the Curve Shopping Mall.
"We are delighted that the CIMB Malaysian Open has upgraded
to join the WISPA World Series," said WISPA Tour Director
"We always hoped that the country that has produced the
WISPA’s premier player in the form of Nicol David would join
the elite band of events that make up the WISPA World
Series. We appreciate the efforts from SRAM and the
additional commitment of squash supporter CIMB to make this
happen and know the women will put on an event to remember.”
After claiming her sixth successive title at the event last
year, world number one Nicol David will be aiming for
her seventh title at the upgraded event.
The Malaysian superstar was delighted with the news: "This
upgrade for the CIMB Malaysian Open going into the World
Series tier is just fantastic. Thanks to CIMB Bank for being
such a true supporter of squash in Malaysia and I'm also
fortunate that they continue to give me a constant boost
being my core sponsor in raising this tournament up to the
next bracket. I'm certain that this will attract all the top
20 WISPA players to come to Malaysia to compete in this
WISPA Appoints Chairman Lofdahl-Bentzer As
board of the Women's International Squash Players'
Association has appointed its Chairman Ingrid
Lofdahl-Bentzer to the position of Acting CEO with
The decision follows the recent resignation of WISPA's
President Natalie Grainger, the former world number one from
the USA who also represented the Association in the capacity
Lofdahl-Bentzer, a former Swedish tennis number one, joined
the WISPA Board in 2005. Head of Women's Professional Tennis
at the ITF from 1995-99, the ex-world No14 went on to become
the International Sponsoring Director for Sanex Tennis,
sponsors of the WTA Tour, before becoming an advisor to the
Monte Carlo Tennis Masters.
"We are so excited at WISPA to have someone with Ingrid's
credentials and experience taking over as Acting CEO," said
President Jaclyn Hawkes. "We are at an important
juncture with the launch of the new World Series and the
Board is confident that Ingrid is the person to help take
WISPA to the next level.
"Ingrid has been acting above and beyond her role as
Chairman of the Board of WISPA so the Board felt it was a
natural appointment to Acting CEO," added the world No16
from New Zealand.
Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer told the board: "Thank you for
trusting me and appointing me! With your help, I'll do my
level best to protect, improve and advance squash in general
and women's squash in particular!
"And, I'll do it with great pleasure and pride!"
WISPA President Natalie Grainger
To Stand Down
Natalie Grainger's resignation letter
Natalie Grainger, the
recently married former world number one who retired from
the WISPA World Tour in December, is standing down as
President of WISPA (Women's International Squash Players'
Association) with immediate effect.
"WISPA has been part of my life for so long, fifteen years
as a touring player, thirteen as a board member and eight
years as WISPA President," said the US-based 33-year-old in
her resignation letter to the Association's members.
"But I have a fantastic opportunity awaiting me. I have
begun work on a project for Chelsea Piers New York. Chelsea
Piers is opening a huge facility in Stamford, CT, which will
include two ice rinks, an Olympic pool, gymnastics arena,
batting cages, basketball courts, a full-sized soccer field,
trampoline area and climbing wall, seven tennis courts and -
the most exciting part - eleven squash courts and a hardball
"Chelsea Piers has also agreed to purchase an all-glass
court, which we can erect for major championships - so
perhaps many of you will be passing through my doors in the
near future," added Grainger, who won 23 WISPA World Tour
titles throughout her illustrious career - and clinched her
fifth successive US national title this weekend!
In paying tribute to the outstanding contribution Grainger
has made to WISPA, Chairman Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer said: "WISPA
has been incredibly lucky to have profited from Natalie's
enthusiasm, energy and love for the game of squash during
such a long time.
"Her willingness and enthusiasm to work relentlessly to help
WISPA reach a level of professionalism and recognition has
been pivotal and she is leaving a great legacy.
"She will be sorely missed, both on and off court, by her
fans, of which I am one of the many. The Board wishes her
all the best of luck in whatever she chooses to lend her
numerous talents to."
Vice-President Jaclyn Hawkes will be acting President during
the interim period.
"It has been and is a privilege to be a Board member as well
as the WISPA Vice-President during Natalie's tenure," said
the world No15 from New Zealand. "She has worked
unbelievably hard for our organisation and hers will be very
tough shoes to fill.
"It is an honour to be the acting President, a position
which I will embrace."
WISPA Align With PSA In World
Women's International Squash Players' Association (WISPA) is
announcing exciting plans to re-brand its top tier
championships as WISPA World Series events, leading
to an annual WISPA World Series Finals.
The first new WISPA World Series event will be this week's
Cedrus Investments Cayman Islands
Open. The $68,500 championship, in its third year in
the Cayman Islands, has attracted a star-studded field
featuring eight of the world's top ten women, led by world
No1 Nicol David, who will be out to defend her title.
The decision is part of a growing plan by WISPA to work more
closely with the men's international players' body, the
Professional Squash Association (PSA), in order to maximise
the resources and exposure available to both bodies.
"The new initiative will have a number of benefits," said
WISPA Tour Director Tim Garner. "Not only will there
be increased profile and prestige of those specific events,
but it will also ensure seamless branding at tournaments
that host both men's & women's World Series events.
"Furthermore, there will be the opportunity for the top
players to earn the levels of money that their efforts
warrant - and the combined resources of WISPA and PSA will
bring improved television and other media coverage that can
only benefit the sport as a whole," Garner continued.
PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough added: "This is an
exciting time for squash. We have been in discussions with
WISPA for a while now on the alignment of the top tier of
the game and this is a big step towards this. PSA has been
working hard on its media output and we look forward to
helping promote the women's game with the same TV production
"We are also looking forward to showing the WISPA World
Series events through the online channel Squash TV starting
next week from the Cedrus Investments Cayman Islands Open."
The following events will make up the 2011 WISPA World
- Cayman Islands Open
- Australian Open
- Qatar International
- Hong Kong Open
- World Open
"We are also in discussions
with a couple of other potential events which have expressed
an interest in joining this elite group," added Garner. "We
will be looking to grow the WISPA World Series to eight
events, plus the World Open, in the near future."
WISPA Board Announces New Beginning
The Women's International Squash Players' Association
(WISPA) today announced the following new executive team to
lead WISPA with immediate effect:
1. Samantha Mueller - Chief Administration Officer
2. Tim Garner - Tour Director
3. Stewart Binns - Broadcast & Development Consultant
4. Ian Robinson - Special Projects
Co-opted Board Members: Jenny Denyer (nee Tranfield)
and Peter Goodman.
WISPA is extremely delighted to be able to count on the
services of such a talented group of individuals, many of
whom have had significant involvement in the world of
squash, in addition to being experts in their field.
"We have been very fortunate to have had such strong
interest shown during our search for a talented team," said
Natalie Grainger, the Association's President. "I feel
more confident than ever that we are now in a position to
build on WISPA's past success and lead Women's Squash to new
In order to ensure a smooth transition to the new structure,
the team will report into WISPA Chairman Ingrid
Lofdahl-Bentzer to ensure continuity.
In addition to the new team, WISPA will also be moving
offices to a prestigious new address in London at the famous
"This represents a significant milestone in WISPA's
history," added Lofdahl-Bentzer. "We are excited about the
new team and the new beginning at Queen's Club and we look
forward to welcoming all the WISPA family and friends to our
new home in London."