Marwan steps out of his brother’s shadow to challenge for the highest honours
By ELLIE MAWSON
Ahead of his debut appearance at the season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals – which takes place at Dubai Opera from June 6-10 – World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy says he is determined to build on what has been a breakthrough year and continue carving out his own story after stepping out of elder brother Mohamed’s shadow during the 2016-17 PSA World Tour campaign.
The 23-year-old admitted he often used to compare himself to Mohamed – whose 15-month reign as World No.1 came to an end in April – but has switched focus to his own game to find a new lease of life on the court, seeing his own World Ranking go from strength to strength in the process.
“I used to always put myself under pressure because I wanted to achieve as much as him from a young age until one day I realised that I need to be myself,” said ElShorbagy, who broke into the world’s top five for the first time in his career last month.
“I have to be the best version of myself. I don’t have to live my brother’s story, I can have my own story.”
The Bristol-based Egyptian beat his brother for the first time in his career at this year’s Windy City Open before lightning struck twice as he stormed to victory in their El Gouna International quarter-final clash.
And with a maiden appearance at the World Series Finals – which features a unique best of three games format throughout the group stages and semi-finals – throwing up the potential for the siblings to meet once again, ElShorbagy is looking forward to stepping foot inside Dubai Opera.
“Of course, we could end up playing each other- it’s difficult for both of us and for our family especially,” he said.
“We train every day and we know each other’s games. We talk tactics and support each other when we’re playing other people so it is tactically and emotionally difficult. Every time we play it’s a battle on court but we are best friends off it.
“But the World Series Finals is the climax to the international squash season – it’s one of the biggest moments of the year for squash players so I’m really excited to be playing there.
“While I didn’t qualify last year my brother told me how amazing it was. I feel honoured that we will be the first sportsmen and women to compete in such an iconic place as the Dubai Opera and I am very excited about what this will do for the sport of squash.”
The World Series Finals brings together the top eight players on the Men’s and Women’s PSA Road to Dubai Standings, with points on offer at all World Series tournaments throughout the 2016-17 season.
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 15:00pm, 15:45pm, 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