Malcolm : Nantes is “best ever”
Malcolm Willstrop was impressed by his visit to Nantes … wasn’t he just.
I learnt to play squash on a converted fives court on the edge of the cricket field at St Peter’s School, York, and have had the privilege and good fortune to have watched the professional game in iconic venues in New York, Hong Kong, Egypt, Shanghai and London.
The Nantes International may not have attracted the world’s very best players, but I am reminded just how far the game has come, and Nantes sets new standards and points the way forward.
The Graslin Theatre provides, like many theatres I have seen, a perfect setting and the large and enthusiastic French crowds, seemingly revelling in every moment, have been inspirational to the players.
Master of Ceremonies Roman Suire, between games as well as in between matches, has entertained and educated the receptive crowds, articulate and with humour.
The string quartet, soloist Anne Sophie Duprels and ghosting performers Etienne Laurent and Maxime Simon produced an unsurpassed introduction combining classical music and squash movement exquisitely.
Squash needs to educate, entertain and captivate, and those responsible for the Nantes initiative have done that better than any tournament I have ever seen.
So, ‘bien fait’ to everyone concerned. Perhaps the IOC should have been here.
James Willstrop was pretty impressed too :
“I’ve seen some amazing tournaments over the years and this is an incredible place to play squash. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like it, I sat and watched the opening phase and it was absolutely breath-taking.
“I’ve been playing for 18 years and I have seen a lot of venues, so to be sat there and have my breath taken away is impressive.”