Former world No3 Stu Davenport will be the major drawcard at the New Zealand Masters Squash Championships which start at Napier's Hawke's Bay club on Friday.
Davenport, the 1986 world No 3, turns 50 on Friday. He won't play in the individual segment of the 145-player championships from Friday until Sunday but will play for defending champions and fourth seeds Wellington in the teams event from Monday until Wednesday. Wellington will join top seeds Canterbury, Bay of Plenty, Auckland, Waikato and host region Eastern in the teams event.
With almost $7000 in cash up for prizes it's no surprise the tournament, the top Masters event on the Squash New Zealand calendar, has attracted 17 A grade men and 11 A grade women in the individual events and another two A graders including Davenport joining the teams event.
Seven age group categories for men will be contested - 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64 and 57-plus. Women's categories go up to 65-plus.
The tournament will be the first of two nationals the club hosts during the next 13 months. In October next year the club will host the junior nationals.
"We are thrilled that Squash New Zealand continues to support our club in its quest for these national events," club manager Jacquie Sutherland said.
"It's a testimony to our efforts to continually improve our club's facilities and to ensure we have the right people on board to organise these important events," she added.