The inaugural Nations Cup begins on Thursday in Tauranga, New Zealand, with a brand new format never before seen in squash. The team event will see eight teams of two players take to the court at the Trustpower Baypark Arena in Tauranga, in a round-robin format with matches being best-of-seven, and with each game being the first-to-seven points.
Rex Hedrick will be part of the Australian duo for the Nations Cup, alongside Jessica Turnbull, and we had a chat with the World No.48 prior to the event starting.
Firstly, what do you make of the new event structure?
The new event and structure is a great idea, why not give something different a try? I think it’s important to trial and test new formats to get feedback and market research on the trends of what the viewers and spectators want to see, as they are what makes professional sport viable in the long term.
How much are you looking forward to being a part of the inaugural Nations Cup?
It’s going to be great being a part of it and playing some of the best players in the world. I’ve only really been playing domestically over the past few years in lower level tournaments so it is exciting to play against that higher calibre again. I see the Aussies are in the group with the New Zealand A Team, can’t wait to get back on court with my old rival Paul Coll when we used to battle it out every other month in 5 and 10k’s when he was still 60 in the world!
What are your thoughts on the new scoring format, including the Powerplay rule?
It’s an interesting concept. It reminds me a lot of 20/20 cricket and look how successful that has been worldwide, it has re-invented their sport. As for the squash version, I think it’s a cool idea and I’m looking forward to seeing what playing a different format looks and feels like on court. Surely we are calling it 7/7 squash?
Following on from that, if you could add a rule, or come up with a new rule, what would it be?
Good question… What if you won a game 7-0, you win 2 games? Would certainly add a lot of spice if a game was sitting at 6-0 game ball.
Any representative tournament where we get to put on the country colours has extra meaning and excitement to it.
It’s a mixed team event, so how much are you looking forward to playing alongside Jess?
Jess has been playing some very good squash and her last 12 months have been the most consistent and best squash she has played so I am looking forward to her carrying the team.
How do you feel they will compliment your game as a team?
It’s the smallest representative team I think I’ve ever been a part of (2 person team) so we’ll obviously both need to play well and support each other to do well at this event. My plan is to coach her to 4-0 wins every match, then take comfort in knowing that I just need to pick up a game here and there for Australia to take the win!