British Open: A History Of The Sport’s Oldest Major

The British Open is the oldest and most established tournament on the PSA Tour calendar and has seen some of the greatest players of all time battle it out to lift the famous trophy throughout its illustrious history.

This year, the Platinum tournament takes place across two venues in Birmingham. The traditional courts at the Edgbaston Priory Club will host the early rounds of this year’s event, before the glass court at the Rep Theatre takes over from the third round onwards. You will be able to watch all the action from the traditional courts on the British Open website, before action from the Rep will be streamed live on SQUASHTV.

Second only to the PSA World Championships in prestige, the British Open began in 1929 under a challenge format, where the title holder would be challenged by either the professional of amateur squash champion.

Englishman Charles Read was named the first ever winner on the basis of his results the previous year, before he lost in the first final in 1930 with defeat to Don Butcher in a two-legged affair at the Queen’s Club and the Conservative Club, both in London.

A women’s amateur tournament began in 1922 with a ’round-robin’ format and saw Joyce Cave take the inaugural title with a victory over sister Nancy Cave in the final.

An eight-year hiatus was to follow after the outbreak of World War II, before the more familiar ‘knockout’ format, with which modern fans are familiar with, was implemented upon its return in 1948.

The tournament has taken place at a number of different venues in the past, including a 10-year stint at the Wembley Conference Centre in London, first in 1980, and then between 1984-1994.

The renowned National Squash Centre in Manchester has also hosted the event on four occasions since then, before sponsorship issues resulted in a two-year hiatus in 2010 and 2011. The O2 Arena was the venue for the distinguished tournament the year after that, before it made its home in Hull, the 2017 City of Culture, initially being staged at the KC Stadium. The Allam Sports Centre hosted several editions of the event, right the way through to the 2022 tournament.

In 2017, the tournament offered equal prize money for the first time in its history, with $150,000 on offer throughout both draws – making the British Open the fourth major tournament to offer parity, and the first major British squash tournament to do so.

Some of the most famous names ever to be associated with the sport have had their names added to the coveted trophy, with the likes of Jahangir Khan (10), Geoff Hunt (8), Hashim Khan (7), Jansher Khan (6) and Jonah Barrington (6) winning the most titles over the past 90 years.

Jahangir Khan with the British Open trophy in 1982

During this period, the women’s title winners had a strong Antipodean flavour, with the winners of the tournament between 1962-1990 coming from either Australia or New Zealand. Australia’s Heather McKay was the most dominant player during this time-frame with an unprecedented 16 titles to her name, while the great Kiwi Susan Devoy flew the flag for New Zealand squash with eight victories.

Following the Khan’s dominance in the men’s game, which spanned from 1982 to 1997, several men have claimed the British Open title more than once. David Palmer is a four-time champion, while Nick Matthew, Gregory Gaultier and Mohamed ElShorbagy have all won the sport’s oldest event on three occasions.

Peter Nicol, Anthony Ricketts, Ramy Ashour and Miguel Rodriguez (pictured below) have also won the men’s event this century. Rodriguez made history by becoming both the first South American to win a PSA World Tour Platinum event with his win in 2018, and the lowest ranked male player to ever win the British Open. The Colombian was ranked World No.14 when he beat Mohamed ElShorbagy in the final in Hull.

The event was cancelled in 2020, like many others due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Paul Coll became the first male New Zealander to win the famous title, on his way to becoming the first Kiwi male No.1 in the sport’s history. ‘Superman’ went on to defend his crown in 2022, and he will be aiming to become the first man to win three British Opens in a row since Jansher Khan in 1997.

Michelle Martin, Leilani Joyce, Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Rachael Grinham dominated British Open through the 1990s and 2000s. The quartet racked up an impressive 14 victories between them in a 17-year period.

The only woman to break that run was Malaysia’s Nicol David. Arguably the greatest women’s player of all time, she won the famed British Open crown five times between 2005 and 2014.

In 2013, Laura Massaro defeated the Malaysian to become the tournament’s first female English winner for 22 years. In back-to-back years, Camille Serme and Nour El Sherbini (pictured below) made history, as they became the first French and Egyptian women, respectively, to lift the British Open title.

El Sherbini’s win opened the floodgates, with five of the last six British Opens being won by Egyptian women. The ‘Warrior Princess’ has three victories to her name, while Nouran Gohar and Hania El Hammamy have also lifted the trophy. El Hammamy will be the defending champion this year at the British Open.

The British Open will take place from April 9-16 in Birmingham and you can catch all the action live on SQUASHTV and the British Open website.

Get your tickets here.

Previous Winners – Men
2022 Paul Coll (NZL)
2021 Paul Coll (NZL)
2020 No competition
2019 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
2018 Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
2017 Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
2016 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
2015 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
2014 Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
2013 Ramy Ashour (EGY)
2012 Nick Matthew (ENG)
2011 No competition
2010 No competition
2009 Nick Matthew (ENG)
2008 David Palmer (AUS)
2007 Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
2006 Nick Matthew (ENG)
2005 Anthony Ricketts (AUS)
2004 David Palmer (AUS)
2003 David Palmer (AUS)
2002 Peter Nicol (ENG)
2001 David Palmer (AUS)
2000 David Evans (WAL)
1999 Jonathon Power (CAN)
1998 Peter Nicol (SCO)
1997 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1996 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1995 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1994 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1993 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1992 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1991 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1990 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1989 Jahnagir Khan (PAK)
1988 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1987 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1986 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1985 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1984 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1983 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1982 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1981 Geoff Hunt (AUS)
1980 Geoff Hunt (AUS)
1979 Geoff Hunt (AUS)
1978 Geoff Hunt (AUS)
1977 Geoff Hunt (AUS)
1976 Geoff Hunt (AUS)
1975 Qamar Zaman (PAK)
1974 Geoff Hunt (AUS)
1973 Jonah Barrington (IRL)
1972 Jonah Barrington (IRL)
1971 Jonah Barrington (IRL)
1970 Jonah Barrington (IRL)
1969 Geoff Hunt (AUS)
1968 Jonah Barrington (IRL)
1967 Jonah Barrington (IRL)
1966 Abdelfattah AbouTaleb (EGY)
1965 Abdelfattah AbouTaleb (EGY)
1964 Abdelfattah AbouTaleb (EGY)
1963 Mo Khan (PAK)
1962 Azam Khan (PAK)
1961 Azam Khan (PAK)
1960 Azam Khan (PAK)
1959 Azam Khan (PAK)
1958 Hashim Khan (PAK)
1957 Roshan Khan (PAK)
1956 Hashim Khan (PAK)
1955 Hashim Khan (PAK)
1954 Hashim Khan (PAK)
1953 Hashim Khan (PAK)
1952 Hashim Khan (PAK)
1951 Hashim Khan (PAK)
1950 Mahmoud Karim (EGY)
1949 Mahmoud Karim (EGY)
1948 Mahmoud Karim (EGY)
1947 Mahmoud Karim (EGY)
1946 No competition
1945 No competition
1944 No competition
1943 No competition
1942 No competition
1941 No competition
1940 No competition
1939 Jim Dear (ENG)
1938 Abdelfattah Amr (EGY)
1937 Abdelfattah Amr (EGY)
1936 Abdelfattah Amr (EGY)
1935 Abdelfattah Amr (EGY)
1934 Abdelfattah Amr (EGY)
1933 Abdelfattah Amr (EGY)
1932 Don Butcher (ENG)
1931 Don Butcher (ENG)
1930 Charles Read – Appointed champion (ENG)

Previous Winners – Women
2022 Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
2021 Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
2020 No competition
2019 Nouran Gohar (EGY)
2018 Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
2017 Laura Massaro (ENG)
2016 Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
2015 Camille Serme (FRA)
2014 Nicol David (MAS)
2013 Laura Massaro (ENG)
2012 Nicol David (MAS)
2011 No competition
2010 No competition
2009 Rachael Grinham (AUS)
2008 Nicol David (MAS)
2007 Rachael Grinham (AUS)
2006 Nicol David (MAS)
2005 Nicol David (MAS)
2004 Rachael Grinham (AUS)
2003 Rachael Grinham (AUS)
2002 Sarah-Fitz Gerald (AUS)
2001 Sarah-Fitz Gerald (AUS)
2000 Leilani Joyce (NZL)
1999 Leilani Joyce (NZL)
1998 Michelle Martin (AUS)
1997 Michelle Martin (AUS)
1996 Michelle Martin (AUS)
1995 Michelle Martin (AUS)
1994 Michelle Martin (AUS)
1993 Michelle Martin (AUS)
1992 Susan Devoy (NZL)
1991 Lisa Opie (ENG)
1990 Susan Devoy (NZL)
1989 Susan Devoy (NZL)
1988 Susan Devoy (NZL)
1987 Susan Devoy (NZL)
1986 Susan Devoy (NZL)
1985 Susan Devoy (NZL)
1984 Susan Devoy (NZL)
1983 Vicki Cardwell (AUS)
1982 Vicki Cardwell (AUS)
1981 Vicki Hoffman (AUS)
1980 Vicki Hoffman (AUS)
1979 Barbara Wall (AUS)
1978 Sue Newman (AUS)
1977 Heather McKay (AUS)
1976 Heather McKay (AUS)
1975 Heather McKay (AUS)
1974 Heather McKay (AUS)
1973 Heather McKay (AUS)
1972 Heather McKay (AUS)
1971 Heather McKay (AUS)
1970 Heather McKay (AUS)
1969 Heather McKay (AUS)
1968 Heather McKay (AUS)
1967 Heather McKay (AUS)
1966 Heather McKay (AUS)
1965 Heather Blundell (AUS)
1964 Heather Blundell (AUS)
1963 Heather Blundell (AUS)
1962 Heather Blundell (AUS)
1961 Fran Marshall (ENG)
1960 Sheila Macintosh (ENG)
1959 Janet Morgan (ENG)
1958 Janet Morgan (ENG)
1957 Janet Morgan (ENG)
1956 Janet Morgan (ENG)
1955 Janet Morgan (ENG)
1954 Janet Morgan (ENG)
1953 Janet Morgan (ENG)
1952 Janet Morgan (ENG)
1951 Janet Morgan (ENG)
1950 Janet Morgan (ENG)
1949 Joan Curry (ENG)
1948 Joan Curry (ENG)
1947 Joan Curry (ENG)
1946 No competition
1945 No competition
1943 No competition
1942 No competition
1941 No competition
1940 No competition
1939 Margot Lumb (ENG)
1938 Margot Lumb (ENG)
1937 Margot Lumb (ENG)
1936 Margot Lumb (ENG)
1935 Margot Lumb (ENG)
1934 Susan Noel (ENG)
1933 Susan Noel (ENG)
1932 Susan Noel (ENG)
1931 Cecily Fenwick (ENG)
1930 Nancy Cave (ENG)
1929 Nancy Cave (ENG)
1928 Joyce Cave (ENG)
1927 Cecily Fenwick (ENG)
1926 Cecily Fenwick (ENG)
1925 Joyce Cave (ENG)
1924 Nancy Cave (ENG)
1923 Silvia Huntsman (ENG)
1922 Joyce Cave (ENG)