‘I’ve been training for 30 years and it’s all about hard work’
By ELLIE MAWSON
Current World No.2 Gregory Gaultier will be aiming to keep his 27-match unbeaten streak – the longest of his career – alive as he prepares to defend the title at the 2016-17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals when the season-ending event gets underway at Dubai Opera on June 6.
The 34-year-old, who will return to World No.1 in next month’s rankings, has lifted six consecutive titles this year – at the Swedish Open, Windy City Open, British Open, El Gouna International, Grasshopper Cup and Bellevue Classic – and revealed that his injury-blighted 2016 campaign was the motivation behind this year’s success.
“There’s no secret – it’s all about hard work,” said Gaultier. “I’ve been training hard for 30 years. My motivation this year came from the frustration I had in 2016, missing so many events through injury. That really fired me up.
“But I’ve also been able to relax myself on court and that’s allowed me to play better squash.”
The World Series Finals, which takes place at Dubai Opera – brings together the top eight players on the Men’s and Women’s PSA Road to Dubai Standings to battle it out for a share of the $160,000 prize fund, with points on offer at all World Series tournaments throughout the 2016-17 season.
Gaultier – who finished second on the Road to Dubai Standings – beat Australia’s Cameron Pilley to win last year’s tournament and said it is a title that will live long in his memory thanks to his family being there to support him.
“Winning there last year – on my first time in Dubai – was amazing,” he said. “I had my wife and son there as well which was a bonus and I had a really unique moment with my boy coming on court to celebrate with me – that moment will live in my memory forever.
“They’re coming with me again this year so hopefully they will bring me that good luck again this year.
“The World Series Finals at Dubai Opera marks the season finale on the PSA World Tour calendar and Gaultier wants to end the year with one of the sport’s most lucrative titles.
“I’ve had an amazing run since January and hopefully I can recover well and keep on playing as well as I can,” he added.
“Of course I want to finish the season on a high note as well in Dubai and hopefully I will get there as fresh as possible. I will try to perform the best I can and try to finish on a high once again.”
The PSA Dubai World Series Finals takes place from June 6-10, 2017 with the tournament match schedule to be announced on Monday June 5. All of the action will 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