Five players are in with a shout says Pakistani legend
By NATHAN CLARKE – Squash Mad PSA Correspondent
Squash legend Jahangir Khan, the Pakistani star who dominated the sport during the 1980s and claimed the coveted World Championship title on six occasions, believes the 2014 World Championship in Qatar will be one of the most hotly contested in recent years.
Khan, who won five consecutive titles from 1981-1985 before adding his sixth in 1988, knows exactly what it takes to come out on top in the most competitive tournament on tour and thinks this year’s event will be a battle of wills.
“There are five players who are all in with a serious chance of winning it and it is very close between them all,” said Khan.
“I think it all depends on how they start and who’s got the most motivation – If they can all get off to a good start and gather some momentum, it will be the player who deals with the pressure best and who is most hungry who will go all the way.
“When we get to the quarter-final stage it will become very interesting and I will be watching closely to see how it pans out because the players wait all year for this moment and there’s nothing better than winning the World Championship title.”
The 23-year-old Egyptian Mohamed Elshorbagy goes into the tournament as hot-favourite, having claimed the last two PSA World Series titles.
But, with Englishman Nick Matthew aiming to defend his crown, Frenchman Gregory Gaultier determined to end his four-final losing streak, and Ramy Ashour and Amr Shabana hoping to upset the odds, Khan predicts a fascinating battle to come.
“This is the most prestigious title, along with the British Open, that is available in the sport and the one that all the players want,” said the 50-year-old who went on a 555-match unbeaten streak over five and a half years from April 1981 until November 1986.
“Elshorbagy is a fantastic young talent and he has made great progress over the past six months. He’s beaten all the top guys and will be full of confidence and I think he is very hungry.
“But the World Championship is a very different experience to any other event on tour – winning it once can change your life and is a dream that every player looks up to. For me winning the World title in 1981, against Geoff Hunt, was a very special moment in my career.
“He’s had a lot of injury problems and for him it’s all about his body. It’s a bit unknown for him and there will be a lot of pressure on him from himself after such a long lay-off but if his body can handle it, then he is a major threat.
“The other players have all been around for a long time and have a lot of experience as well so it promises to be a fascinating week.”
The 2014 Qatar PSA World Championship takes place at the Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex, Doha, Qatar from Friday November 14 – Friday November 21 with the action to be shown live on SquashTV:www.psasquashtv.com
Who do you fancy for the title? Please comment below.