Fresh off her second consecutive U.S. Open Junior under-19 division crown earlier this month, Darien’s Marina Stefanoni has stepped on the squash court with the world’s top professionals at the $360,000 J.P.Morgan Tournament of Champions squash tournament, held in Grand Central Terminal. The event began on Wednesday and runs through Thursday, Jan. 24.
Last year, Stefanoni made tournament history by being the youngest player in the field of the prestigious Professional Squash Association world tour event.
Despite losing in the first round, the 16-year-old Darien High School sophomore has good memories of the tournament.
“Last year there were so many people watching and everyone was cheering for me,” Stefanoni said of her loss to Egypt’s Nour Gohar. “It was really fun because I never been on such a big stage as that.”
Stefanoni is scheduled to begin play today, Friday, Jan. 18, against the world’s No. 29 ranked player, Zelna Mickaway of Egypt.
The match is scheduled for the Harvard Club.
If Stefanoni wins, she would play her next match on the Grand Central Terminal stadium glass-enclosed court.
“I’d like to make it past round one and hopefully get a chance to play on the glass again,” Stefanoni said. “This is my favorite tournament, it’s such an incredible venue. To play in Grand Central where people who don’t even know what squash is, walked and see us play. It was surreal.”
Stefanoni is one of four USA players in the tournament, including fellow Connecticut native Olivia Blatchford Clyne, who begins play on Sunday after an opening round bye.
More information and tickets: www.tocsquash.com