Rhys Evans becomes Mozart Open 2024 men Champion!

Rhys Evans (WAL, WRL 198) denied the hopes of Aqeel Rehman winning his home tournament for a third time by beating the Austrian number one 3/1 in the final of the Mozart Open in front of a full crowd at EUROPARK Salzburg shopping mall.

It was the most busy day on the glasscourt with the stands and gallery full of spectators cheering especially for their home favorite. However Evans was that little bit too strong and claimed his second PSA title.

Before the final there was a big raffle with more than 100 exciting prizes and the the VIP tournament. Olympic champions such as Ski riders Katharina Huber and Andrea Fischbacher along with former World Champions and Olympic medalist like ex-ski jumper Andreas Goldberger showed a very entertaining tournament.

The highlight of the last day of the Austrian Squash Challenge of course was the Mozart Open men final. Exactly a week before it were the ladies who played their final match on the glasscourt. Both tournaments offer an equal prize money of 6.000 USD. It is Austria’s only PSA tournament that combines men an women!

From the first point on Rehman was cheered by the extatic crowd like he has never been before. The opening game between both players was very close with the Welshman finding the better end. However the home crowd was amused when their favorite equalized in the second game to 1/1.

In the third the Salzburg born and based Rehman started with a lead, but the 20-year old Evans fought back from 1/4 to take the game 11/6.

It looked like the match could go into a deciding fifth game, as Rehman raced to a 7/2 and 9/6 lead in the fourth game. Suddenly the local favorite lost his concentration and faced matchball against him. Once again pushed by the crowd he could save it before saving another two match balls in the tiebreak.

However Rehman couldn’t convert his own two game balls and the rallies ended up very contested with every player knowing how decisive every shot can be. After the points going back and forth it was Rhys Evans finishing the game and match 17/15.

Final sore:

[9/16] Rhys Evans (WAL, WRL 198) – [1] Aqeel Rehman (AUT, WRL 119) 11/9, 6/11, 11/6, 17/15 62min

The crowd and Rehman of course were shocked but at the same time applaused for the performance of both athletes and of course Evans winning the title as a deserved champion.

Overall it was another exciting week of men’s squash after the women inspired the spectators with their skill the week before. All players were happy and showd their enthusiasm for this uniqe event, having had the chance to play at such a venue.

Thanks to all players, sponsors, volunteers and EUROPARK shopping mall and everyone else for making this event happen and showing this amazing sport to the public that appreciates that Squash will be an olympic sport in 2028!

The final ceremony was attended by the director of the Salzburg County Sports Ministry, Andrea Zarfl, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 🙂

A round up report will follow as well as more pictures in our gallery. All pictures are free to use as long as using the photo credits of our various photographers.