Daryl Selby left stunned by rival’s amazing retrieval
By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor
French ace Mathieu Castagnet has dived and chased his way into squash folklore after producing the most phenomenal piece of retrieving ever seen.
His opponent, Daryl Selby, could not believe it as Castagnet dived into the front left corner to scrape the ball off the floor after a fast boast from the Englishman in the front right corner.
With his opponent grounded, Selby must have thought he had won the rally as he casually volleyed the ball into the back right corner.
However, world No.8 Castagnet picked himself up, chased the ball to the back of the court, and somehow managed to hit a forehand shot past a stunned Selby to win the point.
That particular movement is known as the “big diagonal” – the longest distance you can travel on the court.
The players were competing in the Windy City Open, taking place in the spectacular setting of the Cathedral Hall at the University of Chicago.
Castagnet, one of the fittest and most determined players on the PSA Tour, went on to win 3-1, beating world No.17 Selby 11-7, 11-5, 3-11, 11-9 in 70 minutes.
The video clip has now gone viral, picked up by media outlets all over the world, hopefully entertaining new audiences and showing them the extraordinary flair, fitness and speed of squash’s leading athletes.
A relieved Castagnet said: “I have no explanation about that shot in the fourth. I love this sport and if I have to dive and push myself to play the shot, I will do whatever I have to to win.
“That’s my personality and my commitment and maybe that’s why I’m now a top ten player. You have to be focused and fight in every rally and that’s exactly what I did today so I’m very happy.”
I loved that fast boast from Selby that led to the dive by Castagnet. A stunned Selby emailed me from Chicago yesterday and said: “Having watched it on the replay a few times, it is simply amazing retrieving!
“As I hit my boast I didn’t think he would get the first one back. But, with the full length dive he did, I just thought I needed to get a racket on the my shot, which I did, expecting him not to be able to get up in time.
“While he was getting up I still wasn’t expecting him to get the next one but by the time I realised my ball wasn’t quite dead he was already in the back corner and hitting a winner! Unbelievable, really, hence my reaction!”
The two players will both be in action in London next week, competing in the sell-out Canary Wharf Classic.
Selby is seeded to meet top seed Mosaad in the quarter-finals, with No.3 seed Castagnet scheduled to line up in the last eight against England’s James Willstrop, who is seeded five.
Last year Selby reached the semi-finals after beating Borja Golan in one of the most physical battles ever seen at the East Wintergarden. Stand by for more fireworks!
NOTE: Let’s hear about your favourite piece of retrieving. And who are the best divers in YOUR club? Please comment below.
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of PSA and Windy City Open