Annie & Leo looking to draw on home support
Hong Kong duo Annie and Leo Au – the reigning National Champions – are hoping to benefit from partisan home support at the Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open later this month when the siblings compete at the PSA World Tour Platinum event.
The Hong Kong Open is the third Platinum tournament of the season and will take place at the Hong Kong Squash Centre between November 19-22 before moving to the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre between November 23-25.
It’s the biggest professional squash tournament to take place in Hong Kong and both Annie and Leo are hoping to channel the support of their home crowd as they look to reach the later stages of the tournament.
“When you see a lot of familiar faces and hear their cheers during the match, it feels amazing and inspires you to push even harder,” said Annie.
“It’s an opportunity to play in front of the home crowd besides the nationals. I’m really looking forward and I’m ready to play my best.”
Leo echoes his older sister’s thoughts and believes that playing on home soil helped inspire him to a stunning upset of defending champion Ramy Ashour at last year’s tournament.
“It was amazing to have a good performance in front of the home crowd and also in a big tournament. Ramy Ashour is one of the legends in squash and people always enjoy watching him play, so I hope he can stay injury-free and bring more good squash to us.
“I’m always excited to play in my home country, it is the biggest PSA tournament in Hong Kong, so I’m really looking forward to that.
“I feel great playing in Hong Kong because there are always lots of people to support the local players. At the same time, the Hong Kong government, Hong Kong Sports Institute and Hong Kong Squash also contribute a lot to the local squash players, so I think these are the factors that improve my performance.”
Leo wrote his name into the history books in July when he broke into the world’s top 20 alongside compatriot Max Lee, marking the first time in history that two male players from Hong Kong have achieved that milestone at the same time.
World #12 Annie, a 15-time PSA Tour title winner, has featured in the top 10 on a number of occasions and highlighted the support that Leo has given her over the years, saying: “Every time when I’ve wanted to give up, especially after a hard training session, he has always been out there with me and encouraged me to push until the end.”
Annie receives a bye into the second round where she will come face to face with either US #1 Amanda Sobhy or New Zealand’s Amanda Landers-Murphy.
Leo faces Spain’s Edmon Lopez in round one, and a win for the World #22 would see him face World #8 Paul Coll in the last 32 where he will aim to cause yet another upset on home soil.