Fares has flair and fire in abundance as he rockets up the rankings
By NEAL BROOKER – Squash Mad Coaching Columnist
I think its fair to say over the last year or so; anyone who follows squash will have heard the name Fares Dessouki.
Fares hails from Alexandria, in Egypt, and has enjoyed an incredible rise through the PSA world rankings over recent years, and is currently sitting at 21 in the world – impressive for a man who is just 20 years of age.
It has been his performances in recent World Series Events, which have caused Fares to catch the eye of squash fans all over the globe.
In May 2014, he reached the quarter–finals of the British Open, eventually losing to three-time world champion Nick Matthew. This was a particularly impressive feat from the 20 year as he started the event as a qualifier!
Then, in October 2014 he would again go on to reach another World Series quarter–final, losing out again to Nick Matthew at the US Open.
He completed 2014 by reaching the third round of the World Championships in november, which was a placing above his seeding, which seems particular fitting for Fares as he doesn’t seemed phased by anything or anyone – fearless.
Recently, Fares competed in the Canary Wharf Classic, a popular and well supported event on the PSA Tour. He reached the quarter-finals, losing to Nick Matthew once again. However, this time it was a tighter match with Fares taking a game off the former world champion. It was at this event I decided to watch the 20-year-old’s play a little closer.
I decided to complete a notational analysis on his first round match against Adrian Waller. I focused on where Fares was positioned on the court when he hit a winning shot and what type of shots he was having success with.
It is important to note that my definition of a winning shot was either a shot that was simply too good to return or a shot which forced his opponent into conceding a stroke.
Obviously this is subjective, and everyone’s definition may be slightly different, but this is irrelevant, the purpose was to try and get a better understanding of what this incredible talent is doing with the ball.
On the figure below I have marked the position from which Fares played the winning shot and then what type of shot it was. Shots displayed in red text are shots which were played into the front of the court with their first bounce before the short line.
1: Without stating the obvious, Fares hits a lot of winning shots. Just over 60% of his total match points came from winning shots in his first round match.
2: Fares seemed to be very successful when playing the ball into the front of the court, as 75% of his total winners were in that region of the court. This being said, his length hitting was not bad either, and I am sure if I had looked at this in greater detail I would have been equally as impressed.
3: The three-quarter court area (marked with a dotted line) on both the forehand and backhand seemed to be the main hitting zone for Fares as he seemed fire in endless attacks into the front of the court from here.
There are no two ways about it, Fares is a real talent and it is a joy to watch him play squash. His style, in my opinion is very attacking, but what I think is so impressive; is his focus and temperament particularly at such a tender age.
Initially, I was focused on Fares’ ability to hit winning shots at will, but what became apparent as I started to look more closely was that his length hitting and strength across the middle of the court was excellent, allowing him to attack shots falling into the ¾ court zone.
I will openly admit I have never played the game to the level at which Fares and his colleagues are currently, but I love watching it.
I welcome opinions from other people on his style because I feel it is an excellent advertisement for our sport and something aspiring juniors could benefit from watching.
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashics.com)