By LEE HORTON
FORGET for a moment the current injury paining Ramy Ashour, and it’s fair to say that 2013 has been one of hell of a year for the Egyptian superstar.
He pretty much hoovered up every event he entered. Unbeaten in 49 matches before limping out of the World Championship semi finals, World No.1 for 17 months, unbeaten in seven straight tournaments in a calendar year.
Wow, laughing all the way to the bank then. Well, maybe. Ramy is the most naturally gifted player of his generation. He plays with a smile, clearly loves the game as much now as he did as a kid growing up in Cairo and you can imagine he’ll be playing club squash long after he has handed in his PSA licence.
He plays for the love of the game, not the money…which is just as well. A quick glance at the official PSA Prize Money list below shows exactly how much King Ramy has stuck in the bank in the past 12 months.
Compared to the average man in the street he’s doing fine, compared to his fellow world superstars (and that’s exactly what he is), Ramy finishes a long way down the money list. I don’t know if he lies awake at night wishing he’d tried his hand at tennis, but if he does, who could blame him?
PSA figures show the World No.1 banked $178,748.75 (US) from his last eight events dating back to December 2012. From that he paid a five per cent levy to the PSA leaving him $169,811.32. That’s £106,987.92 in English pound notes. Hopefully, Ramy’s sponsorship deals give him the rewards and lifestyle his talents deserve.
We’ve all read how much other sportsmen earn (Beckham, Messi, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer) and it sticks in the craw every time. It’s futile comparing like for like, but sometimes a little glance at how the other lot with a racket (tennis) are doing reminds us we should thank our lucky stars for the players who have followed their squash dream rather than the dollar bill available elsewhere.
There is one figure, though, that I will flag up just to make us (and probably Ramy) a little bit miserable. On Monday, Novak Djokovic pocketed £1.9m for winning the 2013 ATP World Tour Finals in London. Good for him, tennis on top of the world and awash with dosh. Pointless getting grumpy over his winnings and comparisons, as I said, are pointless.
However, and there’s always a however, how bloody unfair is it that tennis has so much money that it can afford to pay out $80,000 to a bloke who didn’t even play? Yes, the ATP have to have a reserve player on standby just in case one of the eight finalists gets crocked. So lucky old Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, gets about half of Ramy’s annual earnings for five days’ shopping in London. How’s yer luck, as they say.
Ramy does not appear to be the sort of guy who is angered by such injustice so on his behalf (and all the other brilliant, undervalued PSA players) may I say…IT AIN’T FAIR.
Ramy’s PSA earnings since December 2012:
World Open Qatar 2012 (winner) = $45,600.00
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong 2012 (winner) = $22,443.75
JP Morgan Tournament of Champions 2013 (winner) = $16,625.00
Davenport North American Open (winner) = $16,625.00
Kuwait PSA Cup 2013 (winner) = $26,600.00
Allam British Open 2013 (winner) = $22,443.75
Netsuite Open 2013 (winner) = $11,281.25
World Championships Manchester 2013 (semi-final) = $17,100.00
Sub total = $178,748.75
Player levy 5% = $8,937.44
Total = $169,811.32 (£106,987.92)