Category Archives: PSA

Paul Coll – Superman the 2016 Channel VAS Champion

Paul Coll 2016 Channel VAS Champion

Photo credit to www.psaworldtour.com

What a great tournament Paul Coll had at the 2016 Channel VAS Championship. He put on an amazing display of athleticism and squash. Coll earned his nickname previously in large part due to his flying dives he made to get seemingly unplayable balls back. What impressed me the most with his play this tournament was how in control of his body he was. There was no need to dive. His movement to and from the ball was incredible. His tactics were also excellent. He was defensive when he needed to be and attacked when appropriate. The quality of his squash was also very impressive. Paul Coll really showed what a quality squash player he is at the Channel VAS Championship. Continue reading

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Karim Abdel Gawad the 2016 PSA World Champion

Karim Abdel Gawad 2016 PSA World Champion

What a fantastic run Karim Abdel Gawad has had since the 2016/2017 season started. I have always enjoyed watching him play because he has such excellent control of the ball. The “Baby Faced Assassin” is such an appropriate nickname for Gawad. He looks so relaxed and casual but if you leave the ball loose the point is over. At the start of this year’s world championship tournament he was certainly one to watch but I don’t think he was a favourite to win. I know I was certainly expecting Mohamed Elshorbagy or Ramy Ashour to win. Gregory Gaultier and then perhaps Nick Matthew would have been my next picks. I was wrong in those picks and should have been picking Karim Abdel Gawad. Congratulations to Karim Abdel Gawad as he is the 2016 PSA World Champion! Continue reading

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The J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions 2016

Tournament of Champions Logo

I had the opportunity to go watch the men’s first round of the J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions 2016 this past week. What an amazing event. I was there with the Canadian National Brand Manager for Salming and had the opportunity to watch a photo shoot they did for their upcoming seasons catalog. We also had tickets to all 3 sessions on the Thursday to watch the squash. As a squash player and lover of our sport what a great way to spend a few days in New York!

I have to confess that I have never even been to New York so just visiting the city was exciting. We stayed right downtown across the street from Grand Central Station so were able to walk to everything. Having a squash tournament in a subway station is not the first place I would think to have one but it works amazingly well. Many of us have watched the tournament on SQUASHTV and you can get a sense of the atmosphere at the event but it is even more incredible in person. We were there for the opening round and even the early time slots are well attended and they are during business hours. There was a real buzz for the matches and the atmosphere was terrific. The multitude of people that just wander by on their day to day business and stop to watch the action on court really adds to the energy of the event.

Now on to the squash. Having met some of the Salming ambassadors I was really hoping to see them do well. The players that I had met that were playing that day were Max Lee and Stephen Coppinger. Max Lee has drawn to play a qualifier, Farhan Zaman. It proved to be a highly competitive and entertaining match. Farhan won a very close first game winning it 11-9. Max came back strong though and won the next 3 games to take the match 3-1. Stephen Coppinger had a really tough first round match and it was one of the matches I was really excited to see. Stephen played Mathieu Castagnet of France. It was a really competitive match as well. Unfortunately Castagnet took the match 3-1 but each game was very competitive and the squash was great to watch.

The two matches I was really excited about seeing before even getting to New York was the Mohamed Elshorbagy vs Adrian Waller match and the Miguel A. Rodriguez vs Borja Golan match. I had expected the Elshorbagy match to be a pretty straight forward affair with him winning it in three. Waller made the second game close leading it at many points but Elshorbagy pulled away in the end. In the first and third games Mohamed was very dominant. I was looking forward to this match to see just how aggressive and powerful Mohamed Elshorbagy was on court in person and certainly did not disappoint. He really does play a different brand of squash even when compared to the other top players. The pace of play and the power with he plays is astounding.

The Rodriguez vs Golan match did not prove to be as competitive or as exciting as I had hoped. Miguel was unfortunately suffering with an ankle injury which was limiting his effectiveness. Interestingly he played much the same way he always does and was all over the court but it looked like if he really had to plant hard to change directions he was tentative to do so. Borja played a smart match and played well to win but it would have been nice to see them play when they were both healthy.

Like I said earlier in this post if you ever get a chance to go see the Tournament of Champions do not pass it up. It is very well organized, you get to watch the best in the world play and the atmosphere at the tournament is incredible and that is in large part due to the venue. I would also like to thank Salming for having me. Having been at the photo shoot for their upcoming catalog and marketing campaign I can definitely say they have some really exciting new squash gear coming for next season!

 

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Squash at the 2015 Pan Am Games

With the Pan Am games coming to Toronto from July 7th to July 26th and with squash running from July 11th to July 17th, we are excited to see the great level of squash that will be displayed from both men and women. With a top ten player on each category, there are clear favorites but it won’t be too easy for them as there are potential dark-horses that can come out on top. Here are the favorites for both the men and women as well as the other top contenders:

Women

Favorite: Amanda Sobhy – USA, World Ranking: 10

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Women’s Favorite Amanda Sobhy

The 22 year-old from New York has been turning heads since she was just a teenager. Having claimed three Tour titles at the age of 16, she is a record breaker in the game of squash. In 2010, she became the first player from the USA to win the World Junior Championship. Breaking into the top ten in September 2014 and named PSA Women’s Young Player of the Year in May 2015, she is the favorite to go all the way during this year’s Pan Am games.

But, Sobhy will not have an easy time getting there. With compatriot Olivia Blatchford (World Ranking 37) as well as Canadian Samantha Cornett (World Ranking 33) and Mexican Samantha Teran (World Ranking 30) in the mix, Sobhy will have very strong contenders that could upset her chances at the title. With 24 women aiming for gold, we are guaranteed and intense and action-packed tournament between the best players in the Americas.

Speaking of Samantha Cornett we will definitely be cheering for her being a Canadian company and also one of her sponsors.  Good luck Sam!

Men

Favorite: Miguel Angel Rodriguez – Colombia, World Ranking: 4

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Men’s Favorite Miguel Angel Rodriguez

The first South American to reach the top ten in the world, “The Colombian Cannonball” will try to defend his title after winning gold at the previous games in 2011. Breaking into the top ten in January 2015 and reaching the semi-finals in two major championships in 2015, the Colombian is having his strongest season and will be the men’s favorite to win the event. Arguably the fastest and fittest player on tour, he is always fun to watch and will bring tons of excitement and jaw opening moments on court with his outrageous gets and dives. He will be a very tough one to beat!

However, there are some other very strong players competing for victory. With Canadian Shawn Delierre (World Ranking: 58) and Peruvian Diego Elias (World Ranking: 43) on the main draw, the Colombian will have to work hard to get past these players. After defeating compatriot Andrew Schnell (World Ranking: 92) in the final of the 2015 Canadian National Singles Squash Championships in May 2015, Delierre comes to this tournament in strong form. Elias comes in strong as well after recently winning the Costa Rica Tennis Club Open last month; the 6’2’’, 18 year-old will make some noise as he aims for the top spot at the tournament.

On the men’s side we are hoping for a strong showing by the Canadian men. We would also like to wish Chris Hanson good luck as well as one of our sponsored athletes.

Squash at the Pan Am games will be a must watch for everyone since it brings the best players in the Americas against each other. There will be world class squash and if you live in or near Toronto, you shouldn’t miss this event. Hopefully the world can see how beautiful and competitive squash is, and how much talent the Americas bring to the sport.

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Amr Shabana and the Salming Race R1 2.0 Squash Shoes

I learned just before the Tournament of Champions that Salming had signed Amr Shabana. My contact was not sure if he would be playing with them at the tournament as he had just signed and indeed he did not. He did however play with the Salming Race R1 2.0 at the Case Swedish Open 2014 in his first round match.

Amr Shabana hoisting the trophy after winning the 2014 Tournament of Champions

Photo credit to http://www.psaworldtour.com/

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Qatar Classic 2013 – Nick Matthew and the Hi-Tec Infinity Flare

Edit – Please read comments below as it appears that Nick may not have been wearing the Infinity Flare but an older model that was altered to have the same colour scheme.

Nick Matthew and Mohamed Elshorbaby at the Qatar Classic 2013

Photo credit to www.squashsite.co.uk

The Qatar Classic 2013 Championship just finished and what a tournament it was. There were a number of unexpected upsets. Daryl Selby took out James Willstrop, Borja Golan elminated Gregory Gaultier and Mohamed Elshorbagy beat Karim Darwish. That left us with a Nick Matthew vs Mohamed Elshorbaby final. What a final it was. A massive battle between two tremendous players. Shorbagy came through and won his first World Series event with a hard fought 5-game victory.

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Start of a New Season

Having restrained my urge to pen a review of the IOC’s decision to exclude squash from the Olympics (for the third consecutive time), I thought now would be an appropriate time for a preview of the new season. My 2013/14 campaign begins in just a few days with the $15k Nash Cup in London, ON. This tournament is held in high regard by PSA players for its great enthusiasm and hospitality. Big crowds populate the seats from day 1, players are given free meals at the club, and the members seem genuinely excited to have a Tour event in their own backyard. I am ranked as #5 qualifier, so progressing to the main draw would classify as a success.

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South America Tour

I recently returned from a three-event tour of South America (Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil). I was quite happily into the main draw of all three without having to qualify, and in fact was set to play two qualifiers in Argentina and Brazil, respectively. This represented a good opportunity to win some matches and tack on precious ranking points.

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Ramy Ashour – The 2013 Allam British Open Champion

Ramy Ashour 2013 Allam British Open Champion

Photo Credit to www.squashsite.co.uk

Prince, Ramy’s sponsor must be really happy with their decision to sign Ramy Ashour.  Not only has he not lost a match since he switched back to them but he left court in the final game to get a new Prince Airstick 130 because the last one he grabbed after breaking a string did not have the logo stencilled on the strings! While not technically allowed in the rules of the game I am sure it was definitely appreciated by Prince!

Ramy Ashour is the 2013 Allam British Open Champion!

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James Willstrop at the 2013 Allam British Open

James Willstop Cameron Pilley and the Prince EXO Pro Tour Squash Racquet

Photo Credit to www.squashsite365.com/site/?p=17583

I was interested to see that James Willstrop looks to be playing with the Prince EXO3 Pro Tour Squash Racquet at this years’ British Open.  James is a Prince sponsored player of course so playing with Prince makes sense but he has been switching back and forth between racquets.  I have seen him playing with the Prince EXO3 Rebel, an old Prince Speedport and now the Prince EXO3 Pro Tour recently.  The Pro Tour is a little heavier than the Rebel but is slightly head light where the Rebel is head heavy.

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