Entente cordiale as England and France share PSA top spot
By LEE HORTON – Squash Mad Chief Reporter
Gregory Gaultier has joined Nick Matthew at the top of the PSA rankings, the first time the number one spot has been shared by two players with an identical points tally.
Matthew, who beat Gaultier in Manchester in November to win his third world title, topped the rankings in January.
An extraordinary series of performances by Amr Shabana on his way to victory in the Tournament of Champions, beating England’s Matthew and James Willstrop on the way to the final, looked certain to cause major upheaval as Ramy Ashour was once again absent through injury.
Gaultier, who powered through the other half of the draw in New York, needed to beat Shabana (pictured above) to claim the number one position outright, but he found the veteran Egyptian in immaculate form and his straight-games victory meant that the Frenchman finished the week on the same number of points (1297.500) as Matthew.
On the day when France scraped a late win over England in the Six Nations rugby, and the day after English Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed French President Francois Hollande to a defence summit meeting in Oxfordshire, Gaultier said: “Being number one is a massive thing for any player and it was a big goal for me to become number one again after five years.”
He previously held top spot in November 2009 but admitted that he struggled to cope with the stress of being out in front. Since then he has revealed that becoming a father for the first time has changed his outlook on life and made him a lot calmer on court.
He added: “For now I’m going to enjoy it, but I need to keep improving as well. Even when you are on the top of your game you have to keep learning and keep improving things because if you don’t move forward the other guys catch up.”
Gaultier’s opponent in the New York semi-final, 23-year-old Egyptian Mohamed Elshorbagy, has moved above compatriot Ashour to take the world number three spot, becoming the highest ranked Egyptian player for the first time in his career.
Elshorbagy followed his impressive run at Grand central Station by beating Peter Barker in the final of the Motor City Open, having overcome an exhausted Shabana in the semi-final.
“Of course it means a lot to be ranked as the number one player in Egypt but that is only a stepping stone towards my goals,” said Elshorbagy.
“People don’t remember who the number one in their country is, but they remember the world champions, British Open champions and world number ones, so those are the goals for me.
“Players like Amr Shabana, because he has achieved so much more than any other player in Egypt has ever achieved, are the players who get remembered and I want to emulate that.”
PSA World Rankings (February 2014)
|1 ||Nick Matthew||England||1297.500||10|
|1 ||Gregory Gaultier||France||1297.500||11|
|3 ||Mohamed Elshorbagy||Egypt||1009.500||12|
|4 ||Ramy Ashour||Egypt||986.000||8|
|5 ||James Willstrop||England||845.500||10|
|6 ||Borja Golan||Spain||668.500||13|
|7 ||Peter Barker||England||610.500||13|
|8 ||Karim Darwish||Egypt||607.500||12|
|9 ||Amr Shabana||Egypt||561.500||9|
|10 ||Daryl Selby||England||476.500||13|
|11 ||Simon Rosner||Germany||449.500||13|
|12 ||Tarek Momen||Egypt||418.636||14|
|13 ||Omar Mosaad||Egypt||385.000||13|
|14 ||Miguel Angel Rodriguez||Colombia||363.500||13|
|15 ||Cameron Pilley||Australia||353.500||13|
|16 ||Laurens Jan Anjema||Netherlands||317.273||15|
|17 ||Karim Abdel Gawad||Egypt||307.500||13|
|18 ||Saurav Ghosal||India||297.000||12|
|19 ||Alister Walker||Botswana||290.500||13|
|20 ||Adrian Grant||England||253.182||14|
|21 ||Mathieu Castagnet||France||245.500||12|
|22 ||Chris Simpson||England||241.818||14|
|23 ||Stephen Coppinger||South Africa||237.273||14|
|24 ||Olli Tuominen||Finland||235.500||13|
|25 ||Marwan Elshorbagy||Egypt||231.500||12|
|26 ||Tom Richards||England||218.636||14|
|27 ||Ong Beng Hee||Malaysia||218.000||13|
|28 ||Nicolas Mueller||Switzerland||214.545||14|
|29 ||Adrian Waller||England||202.000||12|
|30 ||Omar Abdel Meguid||Egypt||193.000||13|
|31 ||Gregoire Marche||France||188.000||13|
|32 ||Max Lee||Hong Kong||179.500||13|
|33 ||Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan||Malaysia||177.727||14|
|34 ||Joe Lee||England||173.000||12|
|35 ||Henrik Mustonen||Finland||171.500||13|
|36 ||Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry||Egypt||169.500||13|
|37 ||Ryan Cuskelly||Australia||166.500||11|
|38 ||Alan Clyne||Scotland||165.909||14|
|39 ||Abdullah Al Muzayen||Kuwait||159.000||11|
|40 ||Leo Au||Hong Kong||147.500||13|
|41 ||Campbell Grayson||New Zealand||146.500||13|
|42 ||Cesar Salazar||Mexico||144.500||13|
|43 ||Mohd Ali Anwar Reda||Egypt||144.000||13|
|44 ||Jonathan Kemp||England||142.000||10|
|45 ||Nasir Iqbal||Pakistan||134.500||13|
|46 ||Karim Ali Fathi||Egypt||131.818||14|
|47 ||Julian Illingworth||USA||127.273||14|
|48 ||Christopher Gordon||USA||126.500||12|
|49 ||Omar Abdel Aziz||Egypt||125.000||14|
|50 ||Martin Knight||New Zealand||115.833||16|
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Championship and Motor City Open