By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
For the first time since the launch of the men’s professional ranking system, England will not have a single representative in the world top 20.
As Egypt’s Ali Farag looks forward to starting the 2021-22 season as the men’s World No.1, England will be on the outside looking in.
Joel Makin of Wales is the highest ranked British male player at No.10, with James Willstrop England’s best at 26.
It will be strange to see a list without a single English name and one wonders how long the situation will persist.
Behind Willstrop, Adrian Waller is at 29 and Declan James at 30. Next come Daryl Selby, Tom Richards and George at 34, 36 and 38 respectively. Patrick Rooney is at 41, Nathan Lake is at 44, followed by Richie Fallows and Ben Coleman at 55 and 56.
Yorkshire youngster Sam Todd climbs to a career-high 87, with the resurgent Robbie Downer one place behind him at 88 and Joe Lee, back after injury, at 89.
Lyell Fuller (94) and Nick Wall (99) make up the English contingent in the top 100.
Howard Harding, publisher of SquashInfo, wrote on Twitter: “How the mighty have fallen!
“First it was Pakistan, then Australia (in November 2019) – and now England, without a player in the men’s top 20 for the first time ever!”
At the top, Farag overtook compatriot Mohamed ElShorbagy to claim the No.1 position following the release of the men’s PSA World Rankings for September.
Farag saw his nine-month reign at World No.1 come to an end last month when ElShorbagy retook the World No.1 spot, but ElShorbagy’s semi-final exit at the Allam British Open, combined with Farag’s run to the final in Hull, saw the lead change hands again, with Farag set to enjoy a 21st month atop the rankings.
British Open champion Paul Coll has followed his first major title win with a rise into the top three for the first time in his career, meaning he is the highest ranked male Kiwi since Ross Norman, who reached No.2 in March, 1987. Coll beat Farag in August’s British Open men’s final to become the first male Kiwi to lift the most famous trophy in the game.
Coll’s rise to No.3 sees Tarek Momen drop to No.4, while Marwan ElShorbagy completes the top five. The rest of the top 10 is unchanged, with Karim Abdel Gawad (No.6), Fares Dessouky (No.7), Diego Elias (No.8), Mostafa Asal (No.9) and Joel Makin (No.10) all holding onto their positions.
Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez stays at No.11 ahead of Frenchman Gregoire Marche in No.12, who rises one place to a career-high ranking. India’s Saurav Ghosal moves up two spots to No.13 ahead of Mazen Hesham in No.14 and Zahed Salem in No.15.
Mohamed Abouelghar falls four places to No.16, while Youssef Ibrahim moves up to a career-high No.17 ranking.
Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng has also achieved his career-high ranking to date after a four-place rise to No.18 made him the first Malaysian man since Ong Beng Hee in January 2013 to rank inside the top 20.
Eain Yow trains under Hadrian Stiff at the Elite Squash Academy in Bristol. He impressed at the British Open by reaching the third round after producing an outstanding performance to beat former world champion and world No 6 Karim Abdel Gawad of Egypt.
Writing in The New Straits Times, squash columnist Zheng Guan said: “It is certainly a significant milestone for Eain Yow, who becomes only the third Malaysian man to break into the top 20.
“Former world No 7 Ong Beng Hee and former world No 10 Azlan Iskandar, in their prime, were the only two Malaysian men who had made it into the world’s top 20.”
Zheng Guan interviewed Azlan, who is also the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) deputy president.
“It’s certainly great news for local squash to have another Malaysian finally in the top 20, and I’m definitely happy for Eain Yow,” said Azlan.
“He had a big win over Karim, and he deserves the credit because it was not an easy feat.
“But he still has a long way to go and most importantly, he has to keep focused on staying in the top 20 or doing better.
“I remember back when I first started beating the higher-ranked players that was when I started to cement my spot in the top 20.
“Eain Yow has certainly been living up to his potential, and he’s been doing things right and on the right track, so he should be proud of himself.”
Omar Mosaad drops two places to No.19, while his fellow Egyptian Youssef Soliman breaks into the top 20 for the first time after a 10-place increase.
PSA Men’s World Rankings Top 20 – September 2021.
Pictures and graphic courtesy of PSA