Video: Internationally renowned squash tournament kicks off tonight at The Heights Casino
The world’s best female professional squash players will be gathering in Brooklyn Heights this week to compete in The Heights Casino’s annual Weymuller Open.
The distinguished contest is a staple of the neighborhood and one of the longest running American tournaments on the professional tour.
Past editions have hosted players from Australia, Egypt, England, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and New Zealand.
“The [Heights Casino] is definitely very proud to continue that tradition and raise enough money to try and get the top players coming back every year,” said Linda Elriani, an English squash coach, former professional player and employee at the Casino.
The first round of qualifying kicks off tonight with Brooklyn Heights native and Packer Collegiate Institute graduate Haley Mendez, who will be taking on Belgian No. 1 Nele Gilis at 7 p.m.
“It’s amazing,” said Mendez of her hometown tournament. “I love the Weymuller. It’s been my favorite week of the year since I was 10 years old coming and watching the professionals play so it’s very exciting and humbling to get to play here myself as a professional.”
The competition is named after Carol Weymuller, a former assistant pro at the Casino and an outstanding racquets player and teacher.
With the help of her husband Fred, Carol became an unparalleled leader in women’s squash nationally and, later, internationally after the tournament that bears her name started attracting top players from around the world.
Charles Frederick Weymuller, a “racquets professor,” former Wall Street Journal reporter and head professional at the Casino passed away on Jan. 30 in Rochester, N.Y.
Elriani articulated the benefits of having such an illustrious field of players competing at the Casino each year for Brooklyn’s youth.
“We have such a big junior program here and it’s such a vibrant club, so to have something like that going on once a year and to bring it onto their own court so they can watch it is a fantastic opportunity for the kids and for the members to see squash of that caliber,” Elriani told the Brooklyn Eagle in a past interview.
“It’s not very often that you see a members club get squash of this standard being played on their home courts,” she continued. “It’s like having Roger Federer come and play here.”
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