‘I have worked hard, stayed hungry and it’s amazing to be back at number one’ says ElShorbagy
By SEAN REUTHE – Squash Mad Correspondent
Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy has claimed top spot on the PSA Men’s World Rankings for the fourth time after he overtook compatriot Ali Farag today to return to World No.1.
ElShorbagy relinquished the World No.1 ranking to Farag when he lost to him in the final of last year’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.
However, the 29-year-old returned to the scene of that defeat last month and made amends with victory over World Champion Tarek Momen underneath the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall to once again take the World No.1 mantle.
ElShorbagy is the fifth longest-serving male World No.1 of all time, with his 41 months atop the rankings only bettered by Jansher Khan, Jahangir Khan, Peter Nicol and Geoff Hunt.
“It means a lot getting back there again at the top,” said ElShorbagy. “I have worked really hard in the off season for this moment to happen again in my career, and to experience it another time feels amazing. I have just stayed hungry and motivated and I’m always working on my game. Six years ago my game was so different than now and each year I have been making some changes to my game and trying to stay healthy and fit to keep that kind of consistency.
“The aim is always to be the best player in the world. Every player at the top tries to reach that target, so I am aware of the players behind me working very hard to try and achieve that, which makes it interesting and challenging at the top. But I have my goals and I want to try and keep this consistency going, which is always challenging.”
Farag drops down to No.2 for the first time since February 2019, while the rest of the top five – featuring Momen, former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad and World Championship runner-up Paul Coll – is unchanged.
Germany’s Simon Rösner rises a spot to No.6, swapping places with Peru’s Diego Elias, while Marwan ElShorbagy (No.8), Mohamed Abouelghar (No.9) and Miguel Rodriguez make up the rest of the top 10.
Welshman Joel Makin rises a spot to a career-high No.11 ranking, with Fares Dessouky dropping down to No.12. Saurav Ghosal stays at No.13, while Gregoire Marche and Zahed Salem retain their respective rankings of No.14 and No.15.
Mazen Hesham rises a place to No.16 – his highest ranking since January 2016 – as fellow Egyptian Omar Mosaad falls to No.17.
James Willstrop stays at No.18, ahead of Mostafa Asal, who rises two places to reach a career-high ranking of No.19. Adrian Waller rounds off the top 20.
French veteran Gregory Gaultier is the biggest mover in the men’s rankings. The former World No.1 returned to PSA action at the Tournament of Champions after 15 months on the sidelines due to a knee injury, beating Mosaad as he reached round three, before finally falling to Asal. The 37-year-old moves up 413 places to World No.130.
Another veteran of the game also enjoyed a big increase in his ranking as 37-year-old Alister Walker from Botswana rose 167 places to No.297. Walker, a former World No.12, was making his first PSA appearance in three months at the Pittsburgh Open and he now sits at his highest ranking since May 2019.
PSA Men’s World Rankings Top 20 – February 2020.
Pictures courtesy of PSA