Local Star Withington Hoping to Draw on Home Support Ahead of 2024 Event

Manchester-born squash player Finnlay Withington has successfully regained his wildcard spot for the upcoming Manchester Open 2024 and hopes that the home crowd support will guide him to success in the PSA World Tour Silver-level event.

The sixth edition of the Manchester Open will take place from 22-26 May from the National Squash Centre, located on Etihad Campus. The event will see 48 of the world’s top professionals battle it out for the titles including current men’s World No.3 Mostafa Asal and women’s World No.5 Nour El Tayeb, who are the top seeds.

Heywood-based Withington, the World No.81, was the men’s wildcard in last year’s event and says he is hoping the home crowd will help propel him on to victory this year.

“I’m very happy to receive the wildcard spot again this year,” said Withington.

“I loved playing in front of the home crowd last year and I felt it really pushed me to play better and perform at near to my best.”

Since last year’s tournament, the 20-year-old has gone from strength to strength and has since broken into the top 100 of the PSA Men’s World Rankings. Withington believes that last year’s wildcard spot gave him the chance to compete against better players and push his ranking ahead.

“I think the main difference from this year to last year is my ranking and the results I’ve been getting,” Withington said.

My overall level has improved a lot and I think getting the wildcard last year gave me that springboard to push on and attack the Challenger Tour events.”

Aside from his Manchester Open appearances, Withington has featured in one other World Tour event, in Cleveland USA, where he lost out to eventual champion Leonel Cardenas. But competing at these bigger events is where the Englishman wants to be.

“It definitely gives me more motivation to get into these bigger sized events,” said Withington.

“This is where I want to be playing my squash and I know I have to work hard to be here consistently, that’s what I’m training for. It’s also very cool to be on SQUASHTV, so that people who can’t be there to watch me live can watch me online, and I can also go back and watch the match afterwards to learn from it.”

Alongside his rise in the rankings, Withington has competed at tournaments across the globe since last year’s Manchester Open, and he claimed his biggest title to date at the Edmonton Open in Canada two months ago. Now, the former British Junior Open champion is hoping to showcase his improvement on home soil.

“My season has gone pretty well so far,” he said.

“I’ve have had a few good results and picked up my biggest title, so I’m just excited to get going in Manchester to try and show that form on a big stage. The home crowd helps me a lot. When the match starts to get tough, knowing the crowd are on my side will push me through and hopefully help me to get a win.”

Withington will take on compatriot George Parker in round one of the Manchester Open on Wednesday 22 May.

Live action from the tournament will be streamed via SQUASHTV while the semi-finals and finals will be shown by the TNT Sports.

Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

For more information on the Manchester Open, visit the tournament website or follow the PSA on Twitter,Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.