French ace targets world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy
By ALAN THATCHER
Gregory Gaultier is heading back to Manchester in September with his sights set on overcoming Egyptian Mohamed Elshorbagy at the top of the PSA world rankings.
Gaultier, the 32-year-old world No.3, now based in Prague, has confirmed his entry into the AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix, PSA M70 event at the National Squash Centre to join Elshorbagy in a strong line-up.
The charismatic Frenchman, who has reached the semi-final stage on four separate occasions, was beaten by eventual winner Nick Matthew last year but will be fired-up to make a good start to the season after he narrowly missed out on the Allam British Open title in May in his last appearance on English soil.
“It is important to start the season well and to be in a positive dynamic for the rest of the year,” said Gaultier.
“Everybody will be fresh and hungry after a long summer of preparation so it will be a very tough competition with a lot of interesting matches. I will probably be quite fit for the event so I am looking forward to it.”
Elshorbagy was the first player confirmed to be competing at the event and with Gaultier now joining him the draw looks certain to produce some blockbuster matches when the action gets under way on Friday September 11.
I interviewed Gaultier in Malta recently and asked him if he had a message for Elshorbagy. He replied: “Like everybody else I will be training hard throughout the summer and aiming to be fit and strong for the start of the new season.
“Mohamed has worked very hard to get to number one and so I know I will have to work just as hard and play well in every tournament if I am going to get back to number one myself.
“There is a huge amount of respect among the top players and I am sure next season everybody will be doing their best to play their best squash and beat the top guys.”
The AJ Bell British Grand Prix will be held from Friday September 11 – Monday September 14 at the National Squash Centre in Manchester and tickets can be bought online here or over the phone on 0844 8797 949.
Picture by IRENA VANISOVA