‘It feels nice and relaxed during the day, but then there’s the intensity of the matches at night’
By ELLIE MAWSON
Defending champion Laura Massaro is looking forward to defending her title when the ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals light up the Emirates Golf Club this week from June 5-9.
The two-time World Series Finals champion is looking to score her third successive title in Dubai after previous victories over Egypt’s World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily and the 34-year-old is excited to return to Dubai.
“I have good memories of Dubai, as you always do when you win, and it’s good to be going back there,” said England’s former World No.1 Massaro.
“I didn’t think I was going for two in a row but three in a row would obviously be brilliant. Obviously as defending champion you want to do everything you can to defend your titles, whatever title that is. With my season, having not won a World Series title this year, you’re never really sure that you’re going to guarantee your place to be there but having got myself to Dubai you want to make sure that you are in the best possible shape to defend your title.”
The World Series Finals brings together the top eight players in the world and features a best-of-three-games scoring format up until the semi-final stage and Massaro admitted that the different format suits her style – much to her surprise.
“It’s a different format and I don’t think I thought that it would suit me. But, as history has shown, I’ve been quite good at it. It will be a case of thinking back to what works quite well and some tough training sessions in the lead-up.
“The good thing with the end of season finals is that it’s like a celebration of the top eight players in the world. Everyone wants to do well but it’s a real bonus event at the end of the season and everyone is flying and just wants to have a go.
“I’m really looking forward to that sort of relaxed feel that the World Series Finals brings through the day and then that intensity at night. It’s a real different feel to the other events we play on Tour and I’m excited to play it again.”
After being held in some of Dubai’s most iconic locations in previous years, with the glass court constructed at the foot of the Burj Khalifa and on stage inside the Dubai Opera House (below), this year’s event will head to the Emirates Golf Club, and Massaro is looking forward to playing at another prestigious venue.
“It’s been one of the most fun, professional events that we have had and it showcases what an amazing place Dubai is. Playing in front of the Burj Khalifa and then in the Opera House last year are two of the most iconic locations that I have played in.
“I’m sure that the Emirates Golf Club is going to be no different this year and I’ve had the privilege of being able to practice there the past two years in the days leading up to the event, so it will be slightly different having a glass court there. But I know the place pretty well and use the gym and back courts and all the facilities that are there.
“It’s an absolutely stunning location and it will be another amazing setting to have the court in Dubai.”
World No.7 Massaro will face Egypt’s reigning World Champion Raneem El Welily on day one at 16:30. All times are local GMT +4.
The semi-finals are due to take place from 20:00 on June 8, while the finals will commence at 20:00 on June 9.
Every fixture will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and final will be broadcast on live mainstream channels across the globe, including BT sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
Tickets for the World Series Finals can be purchased here
Tournament website: worldseriesfinals.com
Article by ELLIE MAWSON (PSA Media Team). Edited by ALAN THATCHER
Pictures courtesy of PSA