Saturday, April 20, 2024

Elshorbagy targeting ‘dream’ start to the New Year

Egyptian ace gunning for a second PSA World Series title in three months  

By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Reporter

World number four Mohamed Elshorbagy is relishing the prospect of returning to PSA World Series action when the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions gets underway in New York next week. 

The 22-year-old Egyptian, who won his maiden World Series title at the Qatar Classic in November, suffered a back injury after a 122 minute marathon match with former world number one James Willstrop at the Hong Kong Open in December.

But after returning to full fitness over the Christmas break and beating Peter Barker 3-0 in the PSL on Tuesday night, the Alexandria ace is hoping to build on a strong end to 2013. 

“I’m very excited to be playing at the Tournament of Champions,” said Elshorbagy. “It is one of my favourite tournaments of the year and I love playing there. From the very first game in the first round the venue is always packed and it creates a really special atmosphere to play squash in.

“I’m especially excited because I suffered a back injury at the end of 2013 which kept me out for a few weeks but I’m fully recovered now and hungry to do well.

“It was very frustrating for me but I made sure I took care of the injury properly and I played in the English PSL earlier this week and I felt good, so I’m really looking forward to going to New York now.”

Elshorbagy has reached the quarter-finals at the $115,000 event in the last three years but while he is hopeful of capitalising on his number three seeding following Ramy Ashour’s recent withdrawal, he remains cautiously optimistic about his chances. 

“It would be a dream for me to win there,” said the 2012 World Championship runner-up.

“All the players will be fresh going into this event as we’ve all had a few weeks off so if I could win, by beating the players when they’re all at their best, that would mean a lot to me.

“I’m concentrating on my first round game first though and I’ll focus on doing my best in that game before thinking about anything else. I will do my best and then I will see how far I can go.”

Elshorbagy opens his campaign at the Grand Central Terminal against American Todd Harrity and could face fellow compatriot Tarek Momen in the second round. 

Source: PSA; Pictures by Michael Catling

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