Shabana hopes reigning champion Ramy Ashour can stay injury-free
By NATHAN CLARKE
Recently retired four-time World Champion Amr Shabana has backed a fellow Egyptian to reach the final of the 2015 PSA Men’s World Championship in Seattle, and continue the country’s recent dominance over the sport.
The country has become a real force in the last decade with seven of the last 12 World Championship titles heading back to Egypt and with five Egyptians currently residing inside the top 10 in the World Rankings.
However, ’The Maestro’, whose last World Championship triumph came back in 2009, admits that it is a dangerous draw and the player who can best handle the pressure of playing in the sport’s biggest event will be the one who comes out on top.
“I tend to try and not pick contenders [to win] because, when I won my first World Championship title in 2003, I wasn’t even ranked in the top 10 and had never, up to that point, reached the semi-final of a major PSA World Tour event so, for me, anyone in the draw is considered dangerous,” said Shabana.
“The contenders who are going to be on form are the ones who are able to balance the pressure in their frame of mind between the importance of the World Championship and their ability to stay calm and focused on the job in hand, which is winning the next match.
“Of course, not being injured can always help.”
Shaman (right) did hint, however, that defending World Champion Ramy Ashour, the man Shabana defeated in the 2009 final, could be the man to beat this time around if he recovers from the injury woes that saw his time at the recent Delaware Investments U.S. Open cut short prior to withdrawing from the Qatar Classic completely.
“Ramy has won the World Championship three times so it is fair to say he can defend his title if he’s not injured,” he said.
“Don’t forget, though, that there are at least a dozen players who can always turn it on as they are squash players of the highest calibre. To write anyone off at this point, if they’re not injured, would be a huge error.”
With a smile, he added: “My prediction would be that there could be an Egyptian in the final.”
The World Championship sees Ashour drawn in the other half to World No.1 and long-time rival Mohamed Elshorbagy and takes place between Sunday November 15 – Sunday November 22 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington.
Tickets can be purchased at: http://www.worldsquashchamps2015.com