Updated: May 22, 2017 at 6:40 p.m.
When the country’s first pay-as-you-go squash facility opens Saturday, District residents will hit the courts and a GW alumna will be showing players the proper techniques.
The 19,700 square foot facility will house eight courts, locker rooms, showers and a small gym for players to warm up or cool down. In addition to the expected features, the facility, called Squash on Fire, has upscale amenities like a bar, an outdoor patio overlooking M Street and a shop with equipment and Squash on Fire branded Lululemon Athletica apparel.
Located at 2233 M St., Squash on Fire got its name and logo from both its location above the newly renovated West End Fire Station and its goal to set the D.C. squash community “on fire,” according to the website.
One of the six coaches at Squash on Fire is recent alumna Eunice Tan, who graduated with a bachelor’s of business administration and marketing in 2016. Tan said that she is helping to coach the junior clinics and School Without Walls, along with working on marketing for the company. She said that her favorite part of her job at Squash on Fire is working with the team of coaches.
“I love working,” she said. “The team makes makes it fun. It’s really an easy going team. They helped me transition in well.”
Tan, a top Malaysian junior squash player who transferred to GW as a sophomore, had a 6-3 record before an injury at the end of the season. She played the winning match for GW’s first ever Kurtz Cup Championship.
“Squash is for all ages. It’s very competitive,” she said. “It’s a lot of a mental game. You have to think on court. It’s like playing chess.”
Squash on Fire will offer group and individual lessons along with clinics, camps and partnerships with Georgetown University, School Without Walls and the National Cathedral School.
An individual lesson with the head coach will cost $199, while a clinic with a coach runs at $39, according to the website. Individuals can also play alone or with an opponent for $20 per player for a 45 minute session at peak times or $10 per player at non-peak times.
Squash on Fire will be fully equipped to host tournaments and each of the courts offer live video streaming so that players, families and friends can check in on the action from home.
Amir Wagih, a world-renowned squash coach and former professional player, is the head coach at Squash on Fire.
The multi-million dollar facility is part of the D.C. real estate development firm EastBanc’s West End development project which included renovating the fire station and adding apartments to the complex. Wagih said the idea and name for the facility came from EastBanc’s president Anthony Lanier and the family got involved in the sport because of Lanier’s daughter Camille, who Wagih used to coach and train for squash.
“A lot of people love it and it sounds interesting,” he said.
Wagih won more than 23 world titles as a coach and coached the Egyptian and Kuwati national squash teams. In 1999, he helped Egypt win its first Men’s World Team Squash Championship. Currently, he is the head coach for Georgetown University’s men and women’s squash teams.
Wagih said he plans on expanding Squash on Fire past the first D.C. location.
“I think we’re going to in three or four years look at next location, do another branch in Europe or Asia,” he said. “I’m trying to do my dream.”
This post was updated to reflect the following corrections:
A private lesson with the head coach was originally reported as $179, but the cost is $199. The price of court time is either $10 or $20 per player depending on the time of reservation, not a flat rate of $20 per player. We regret these errors.