One of the Squash World Tour’s goals is to increase the number of squash courts worldwide. We aim public squash courts in all major cities to be build.
One approach to expanding court availability is to introduce outdoor squash courts. Previous attempts have been made with full-glass courts or courts constructed from steel. However, ASB Squash took a different approach and developed a completely new type of court: a steel frame with walls made of high-pressure laminate, and sport floor tiles for the flooring.
ASB’s Jiří Grulich and Jan Marek shared insights into the court’s development during the Covid-19 pandemic. “We wanted to offer people the chance to play squash outdoors. Our goal was to create an affordable court, cutting costs by nearly 50% compared to a full-glass court,” explained Jan. The prototype of the outdoor squash court was set up at ASB’s headquarters in Nový Jičín, Czech Republic, which is only about a three-hour drive from Vienna where we are based.
After thoroughly inspecting the court and warming up, we put the court to the test under competitive conditions. Both the ASB workforce and our media team witnessed an intense battle. Peter #teamyellow secured the first game 11-6, and he held a 10-8 lead in the second game, giving him two match points. However, endurance runner Joel #teamorange was not ready to concede defeat. With Peter’s heart rate reaching 185 and after a miss-hit and three ultra-long rallies, the second match was tied: 12-10 for #teamorange. Following a break, #teamyellow made a strong comeback, taking an early 6-0 lead and ultimately winning 11-2. Thus, #teamyellow emerged victorious in the first Squash World Tour match of 2023 with a score of 2:1 (11-6, 10-12, 11-2). “I’m glad that my favorite opponent has returned to the squash court,” remarked Peter, welcoming Joel back after his lengthy injury break. Joel: “I’m happy to be able to play again, although I’m not back on my highest level.” Only minutes after the match it started raining. Shortly after the match concluded, it began to rain.
In general we liked the court. The concept of playing squash outdoors is highly enjoyable. The sound is similar to that of a glass court, though the walls are less blunt. The plastic tiles offer less dampening compared to a standard wooden squash floor, and they’re slightly more slippery – a disadvantage for Joel from #teamorange, who relies more on his footwork. Surprisingly, the bounce was quite high, even when using a Dunlop double yellow dot ball. While the sun was out, the ball remained clearly visible. However, as it grew darker, the contrast against the light blue floor became less distinct. Using brighter-colored tiles would be beneficial. Additionally, we recommend increasing the height of the steel frame at the front to avoid hindrance when playing lobs.