With a thriving Windsor Squash and Fitness Club, the city has played host to many tournaments but none like the one currently taking place at Devonshire Mall.
“We’ve never had this high caliber come to Windsor, especially with the glass court like this. It’s amazing,” said Hannah Guthrie, a competitor and part organizer of the JK Windsor Cup.
The tournament is four tournaments rolled into one. There is a men’s, women’s, junior and professional event going on all week until Sunday, all in a glass court set up in the old food court.
“The whole reason this court was purchased is for an event like this,” said Sam Cornett, events and national team coordinator for Squash Canada. “Everything is set up really well to reach a lot more people.”
The glass court has been across the country and is giving local players a chance to play a tournament at home.
“Feels great to play here in Windsor in front of a home crowd in front of all my friends and family. Never had the chance before,” said Jagroop Bhangoo, who played the first match of the tournament.
Jahangir Khan, a former World #1 ranked professional squash player, officially launched the tournament during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
He once competed outdoors next to Egyptian pyramids and likes how the glass court can help the profile of the game.
“The good thing about the glass court is you can put it anywhere in the world,” Bhangoo said.
Anis Khan, saw the glass court set up in various places in North America and wanted to bring the experience to the City Of Windsor.
“What is a better place than holding it at Devonshire Mall where the entire Windsor community is coming here and they will have free access,” Khan said.
According to mall general manager Chris Savard, Devonshire sees about 20,000 people walk through the building each day.
“We thought it would be a nice pairing that we can provide this level of squash in our building,” he said.
Guthrie added, “People walking around are gonna see us play and it just means a lot because you never get that sort of recognition for all the hard work you put in.”
About 100 players from Windsor, Canada and across the world will be playing at the JK Windsor Cup throughout the week until Sunday.
Those interested in the game can pick up a racquet and take a few swings with an instructor at an inflatable court set up near the glass court.
The tournament, along with the recent announcement involving St. Clair College hosting a national soccer tournament is a sign that sports tourism is returning to the region.
“That’s why it’s part of our tourism strategy,” said Ward 9 city councilor Kieren McKenzie. “We know we have a community of people that really love athletics and I think the Windsor Cup is another perfect example of that reality.”