‘We bring the best out of each other’ says world top seed
By NATHAN CLARKE
World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy believes a repeat of last year’s stunning World Championship final between himself and three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour in the 2015 staging of the prestigious tournament, which gets under in Seattle on November 15, would be a truly special encounter and is the match-up that squash fans the world over want to see.
The Egyptian number one went head-to-head with compatriot Ashour in the 2014 instalment of squash’s most prestigious event with the latter eventually prevailing after an epic five-game-thriller, despite spending six months on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, that went down as one of the greatest matches of all time.
The duo also met in the showpiece event of the 2012 World Championship and find themselves on opposite sides of the draw this year, keeping alive the prospect of a mouthwatering final clash.
Elshorbagy, who has only beaten Ashour once in eight previous attempts, says that both players tend to raise their game when they go up against each other.
“I think the final that a lot of people in the sport want to see is Ramy versus me,” said Elshorbagy.
“When we play, we raise the bar for each other and play at such a high pace. We put each other under so much pressure when we play and our last few matches have been special. If we can both make it to the final then I think everyone knows that it could be a really special match.
“He will want his title back again for certain. He’s been injured lately but we saw what he can do before and at the NetSuite Open a few weeks ago he showed again what he can do. He’ll be targeting this tournament no doubt about it so we’ll see what happens when we get to Bellevue.”
Elshorbagy, who last week won the second PSA World Series event of the season, the Qatar Classic, is also wary of the challenges that stalwarts Gregory Gaultier and Nick Matthew will pose in Seattle.
“Gaultier is in the best form at the moment,” he said. “He started the season really well winning two titles in four events but, for me, I think that’s good because he’s pushing me and making me work even harder to be the best.
“He beat me at the US Open and he was the best player there so I have to respect that – he deserved to win. He will be confident and dangerous.
“And Nick has been dealing with injuries since we played in El Gouna earlier this year but everyone knows that even at 60 per cent he’s still the strongest player mentally and he will be giving everything to win that title. He can never be discounted.”
The 2015 PSA Men’s World Championship gets under way on Sunday November 15 in Bellevue, Washington, at the Meydenbauer Center and sees Elshorbagy kick-start his tournament against Mexico’s Alfredo Avila.