Professional squash is in a very interesting stage right now. We've got younger players, such as Mostafa Asal and Hania El Hammamy making their presence known on the tour, and we've got experienced veterans of the sport, such as Grégory Gaultier and Miguel Rodriguez who are still playing at an incredible level.
A good friend of mine, and a fellow squash player, mentioned recently that he thought that professional squash needed more drama, excitement, and rivalry.
A Short Rundown of the Event:
This year's Windy City Open in Chicago was an absolute rollercoaster of unbelievable squash, and was packed full of marathon matches. With some stand-out performances from multiple players such as Borja Golan, Diego Elias, Mathieu Castagnet, Camille Serme, Sarah-Jane Perry, and of course Paul Coll... just to name a few! This tournament certainly wasn't one to be missed.
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:
People often wonder why there are so few upsets at the very highest levels of pro squash. It is considered a major upset when someone outside the top 10 beats one from the top five, and seeing someone outside the top 20 take out one of the top boys happens only once or twice a year. Contrast this with tennis, where it is not uncommon to have several of the top 10 crash out early in a tournament. Even the dominant trio of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer fall victim to up and comers barely inside the top 30 from time to time. In my opinion, there are a few different explanations for this difference in dramatic upsets.
Preparing for tournaments is a very important aspect of squash that is overlooked by many players. People tend to show up on the day of a tournament and dive right into the action without putting much thought into their preparation. Of course, time to prepare is a luxury afforded only to players who don’t have jobs or families or otherwise “real” lives. In this article, I will give a brief rundown of the ideal week of preparation for a tournament. Taking just a few of these tips and adapting them to your own tournament routine will definitely give you a better chance of performing at your best.
Last night I had the opportunity to play an exhibition match at the Barrie Athletic Club, as a crowd warmer for the main event which was Karim Darwish vs Thierry Lincou. This was part of the Cambridge Cup, which is an invitational tournament held around Toronto featuring many of the world’s top 8 players. As I watched these two former world #1’s, I was once again reminded how amazing the very best players in the world are. Darwish is one of the truly elite players and Lincou is now in the tier just below the very top guys.
Some of the most frequent questions people ask about life as a squash player (other than “How much money do you make?”) have to do with day-to-day training routines. After all, the main reason top pros are so good is the years of dedicated, methodical training they have done. Most squash fans know that the average pro is doing two or three sessions a day five days a week, so without discussing the obvious I will try to give some insight into what myself and my training partners do in a given week.