‘I was too excited last year’
By ELLIE MAWSON
World No.5 Nouran Gohar says she is determined to put nerves to one side and improve on last year’s disappointing performance when the 2016-17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals takes place from June 6–10 at Dubai Opera.
The 19-year-old – who qualified fifth on this season’s PSA Road to Dubai Standings – went out at the group stage last season in what was her first ever appearance at the tournament, which brings the top eight players together to compete for one of the sport’s most sought after titles.
But the Egyptian, who claimed her first ever World Series title at the 2016 Hong Kong Open, is keen to learn from her experience and go further at the end-of-season finale this time around.
“I am so excited to be back at the biggest event of the year,” said Gohar. “All through the season players were battling in all the World Series tournaments just to get the opportunity to play in the World Series Finals. I am really happy that I was able to qualify again and I’m looking forward to playing there.
“Making it last year was huge for me and to be honest I did not expect it. It was a totally new experience for me. I was too excited to be there and I didn’t quite manage to play freely without nerves or pressure. It was great to be among the top eight players in the world but I think I could have dealt with the situation in a better way.
“I still enjoyed the event a lot. Everything was simply perfect – apart from the results.”
This year’s tournament takes place at the Dubai Opera and Gohar can’t wait for the action to take place at the iconic venue.
“I was amazed by the pictures of the Opera when I saw them,” she added. “It looks so beautiful and I can’t wait to see how the glass court will look in such a venue, it’s very exciting.”
Gohar will go up against World No.3 Camille Serme – who topped the Road to Dubai Standings, World No.2 Raneem El Welily and World No.9 Alison Waters in Group A.
And with the World Series Finals featuring a round-robin best-of-three series for a place in the knockout semi-finals and beyond, the young Egyptian admitted there is no room for error.
“It is a big difference to play in a best of three format. You have to be on your toes and very well prepared from the very first rally. You can’t afford to lose the first game easily against a top eight player.
“It is different but very challenging and I am really looking forward to seeing how I can deal with it this year.”
The PSA Dubai World Series Finals takes place from June 6-10, 2017 with all of the action to be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
Group stage matches will take place at 3:00pm, 3:45pm, 16:45pm and 17:30pm (Group A) and 21:30pm, 22:15pm, 23:15pm and 00:00am (Group B) between June 6-8 with the semi-finals due to take place from 22:00pm on June 9. The finals will commence at 22:00pm local time on June 10.
Tickets for the World Series Finals can be purchased at https://dubaiopera.etixdubai.com/shows/show.aspx?sh=PSAUMB
Pictures courtesy of PSA