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Grasshopper Cup      

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18-Mar, Final:     

[7] Ramy Ashour 3-0 [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy    11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (50m)   

4Z4A4923.JPGMy tongue is quite stuck at the moment, but I'll try and say what I can... I'm pouring with emotion..

It's been very hard two years. Very hard. It's not like it's the end of the world, there are still more tournaments. But I proved to myself a lot of things.

I proved to myself that I'm there you know? And every day I wake up in the morning, I got to training, I'm thinking about this, every time I go out, I'm thinking about this, every time I go on a date I think about this... it's really ... overwhelming... in a good way...

And I believe that everyone involved in this sport, players, spectators, PSA, referees, journalists, photographers, MC's everyone is very lucky. We are very lucky to have this amazing, amazing sport.

I would love to do this forever. I know it's not going to happen. But I'll keep doing it as long as I can.

Mohamed is an amazing athlete, he is the World Champion, he is doing amazing, he has good sportsmanship on court. There are very little things you have to remember and think about while being on court: the point in the second game when he called it ball down, I would to applaud. They are very small things on court that makes a big difference in terms of respect. He is young than me but he's been doing very well!!!

I'm happy with the way I played today, I'm glad we had that brutal match, it was brutal. I'm glad I came out on top.

I won. I'm grateful. I'm not surprised because I did a lot of work and I've been through a lot and.. I'm not being cocky, I'm saying what's really on my mind, because I think I kind of deserve this.

I love it here, it feels like home, very comfortable for the players, you cannot not be 100% on court, and see you next year, definitely.

We always play matches at a different level. I wish I had more in me to match him today but he was playing so well this week and he was just too good.

Pushed as much as I could this week in every match mentally and physically. Only thing disappointing me that I don’t get the chance to play him enough time when he is on form and I wish I had enough in me to make it another match like our El Gouna and World Champs Finals.

There is no shame in losing to one of the sport's greatest players and I hope he stays healthy so we can play more of these battles together.

Time to go back and work harder...can’t wait already for El Gouna & British Open...



17-Mar, Semis:     

[7] Ramy Ashour 3-0 [1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)    11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (45m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 James Willstrop (Eng)   11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (47m)

[7] Ramy Ashour 3-0 [1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)    11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (45m)

It was anything but easy.

We played so many battles together, back in the days - I seem to say I'm old but in fact I'm ok...

Greg is an amazing athlete. He always impresses me whenever I go on court with him. It's amazing how he covers the four corners.

In today's match, he seemed off a little bit with his movement, but I'm telling you, that was a very hard match to contain, because I'm telling you, if I gave him THAT much, he's would have just strung the games, not just the points...

Same than what happened in the first two rounds with Nici and Abouelghar, I was watching closely, and I learned. I'm glad it came out that way but even when he was a bit off with his movement, he was amazing.

He made it even harder because you didn't know what to expect! When he is playing normal, you know what to expect, but when he is like this he makes it ever harder. So I'm going to give myself a lot of credit to be honest!!!

I'm not thinking about not dropping a game when I'm playing I just want to do my best and give it your best at every point. One of the factors I can have that kind of run is that I'm happy to have my coach Hesham El Attar. We prepare a lot before I go on court, we've been doing a lot of stuff for the past two months. That's one of the biggest reasons I can perform on court.

Tomorrow's match is going to be tough obviously, who ever wins it's going to be really tough, I'm looking really forward to it.

One more thing, last time I came here, I didn't make it to the second round, so it was good to reach the semis, it's always good to be here, thanks to the tournament team, Stephen, Claudia, you always mad us feel home here, and hopefully, tomorrow, we can make another good day for you...

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 James Willstrop (Eng)   11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (47m)

It's been an unbelievable season.

This is my third tournament in a row, third final, right now, I'm not sure it's such a great idea!!!

You see us on court, but there is so much work done off court, in the background, for me to be able to come back every day and perform the way I am doing right now.  So much work off court to try an recover after each match.

And I had to play all those great athletes like James, who was playing so well you know. He's done so well yesterday to be able to beat Gawad the way he did.

I haven't been given the best schedule ever as well, you know. I just finished now at 9pm, and I have to play the final tomorrow at 2pm. I'm not sure how I'm going to recover whereas my opponent is already in bed, and sleeping, and getting ready for the match.

But these are the kind of challenges I live for. These are the kind of goals I was to reach: to be put in those kind of challenges and try and survive, and get through them. Victory taste much much better this way.

I'm going to give it a big shot tomorrow. Ramy has been playing unbelievable this week, we always have tough matches together, we just seem to play at a different level against each other.

It's always exciting matches, and I always cherish those moments that I can live with him on court. I'm really really really looking forward to another battle with him.


16-Mar, Quarters:                                                

[1] Gregory Gaultier 3-2 [6] Mohamed Abouelghar 13-15, 8-11, 19-17, 11-3, 11-9 (90m)

[7] Ramy Ashour 3-0 [4] Simon Rösner (Ger)                 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (34m)

James Willstrop (Eng) bt [3] Karim Abdel Gawad  11-13, 15-13, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7 (86m)

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-1 [5] Tarek Momen    11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8 (51m)

[7] Ramy Ashour 3-0 [4] Simon Rösner (Ger)               11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (34m)

I was trying not to let him do the amazing squash that he has. He is a very strong player, he just won recent tournaments. Interesting to play him as I didn't play him for about a year.

We played a lot in the juniors, he is a good friend of mine, we respect each other on court and off court, that's what it's all about, same person on court, same person off court, same manners, same sportsmanship, and that how it should be.

Greg's match was not the best preparation for us of course, but we are used to it. I've been playing for a while, so I have been through it a lot and I have been in that situation a lot. I know it's not the best case scenario, but I know how to deal with it. I'm glad I kept my focus and contained myself and still did the job the way I wanted.

Match against Greg, it's going to be tough. Greg played a really long match today, Abou played amazing as well, I truly enjoyed it!!! It was an amazing match, our match was nothing compared to what those two did.

Greg is a strong man, have you seen his quads?? he is a great athlete, I'm sure he'll be recovered tomorrow, and he'll be as strong as ever so I'll try to be focused and prepared.

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-1 [5] Tarek Momen    11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8 (51m)

Tarek is a great player, our last match in Canary Wharf showed how tight matches we can play against each other.

Today, the main tactic today was to show him I was ready to play another battle, although I may not have been ready for it, but it was a kind of mask you wear you know... I don't think neither of us were ready for it... but we both pushed really hard.

He showed how strong he is mentally when he pushed back in the third game. I had to be back on my toes again, and sharpen again at the beginning of the fourth.

It's great to be back in the semis again, I lost in the quarters last year. It's an amazing venue, an amazing crowd.

There was four high quality matches, we all gave our best today, and I hope there will another two amazing matches tomorrow...

I think James and I probably enjoyed watching each other tonight! He is a great player. The way he played today is unbelievable.

A lot of people would have written him off when he was 2/1 down. The play he fought showed the high quality player he is.

James is somebody I looked up to, I had a lot of battles with him in the past, and still today. He is one of the nicest guys I met and on tour, it's like Pontefract, I've been there a couple of times, with Malcolm and Mick Todd, always nice people there. I'm sure we always have great and fair matches and I'm sure tomorrow will be another one...


14/15-Mar, Round 1                                                

[6] Mohamed Abouelghar 3-1 [Q] Mazen Hesham 15-13, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 (57m)
[7] Ramy Ashour 3-0 [Q] Raphael Kandra (Ger)       11-6, 14-12, 11-5 (38m)

[3] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 [Q] Greg Lobban (Sco)     14-12, 11-9, 11-8 (43m)
[5] Tarek Momen 3-0 Borja Golan (Esp)                     12-10, 11-4, 11-3 (41m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-1 [Q] Omar Mosaad  11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8 (47m)

[6] Mohamed Abouelghar 3-1 [Q] Mazen Hesham 15-13, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 (57m)

For me it’s special to back playing here in Zurich. I played here in 2014 and have great memories of that event, it was the first time I had made the quarters at a big tournament and I played my idol Amr Shabana.

Mazen and I have been playing since we were kids and even though we’ve played hundreds of times together you still never know what to expect with him. I had to be on my toes and stay focused in every rally so I’m pleased I was able to do that and get the win at the end.

[7] Ramy Ashour 3-0 [Q] Raphael Kandra (Ger)       11-6, 14-12, 11-5 (38m)

Last time I was here, I didn't make it to the semis, I had two very hard first rounds. It's good to be back again, and I am hoping for better results.

Training. It's all about training. I believe that you work hard, luck serves you. That's what I believe in, so I work hard, and I hope that luck serves me at some point. When someone says to you 'good luck', that is waaaayyyy at the end.. you have to work a lot.

And today, that crucial game ball in the 2nd, it was his point, and I just killed myself until the last point, the last shot hoping for something to come down from the sky.. and that's what happened!

Injuries are just part of the sport, and you have to adapt to whatever happens to you, so yes, at times, I had to sit on a chair in the middle of the court and just play my shots.

And I'm really good with my left hand as well now because sometimes, when I get injured, I cannot put any pressure on the right side, so I would go on court and play with my left hand...

But that's in the past, it's part of the process, I'm really grateful for everything I have been through, all the hard times I've been through, it just taught me so much, it changes a person so much and I'm really grateful for every bad thing that happened to me...

Two more Egyptian winners in today's opening matches as Karim Abdel Gawad came through a tough challenge against Greg Lobban, the Scottish qualifier leading 10-9, 9-7 and 8-7 in the three games before Gawad rallied to take them all, and in-form Tarek Momen beat Borja Golan in straight games, the Spaniard's comeback from 3-9 to 9-all in the first the only moment of danger for Momen. As for Mohamed El Shorbagy, he had to play a truly solid squash today to shake off Mosaad who made too many errors to be a consisten threat but who showed glimpses of why he was top 4....

[3] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 [Q] Greg Lobban (Sco) 14-12, 11-9, 11-8 (43m)

A 3/0 win in the first round against such a dangerous opponent, it's very important. Greg is very tough to play, we had played once before in Al-Ahram, he is really good, and it's always nice to play him.

Recovery is very important, especially in a tournament with no rest day. It's not easy to be 100% fresh the next day, but that's why we train for. We try and have a good routine, carbs and a good massage after our matches.

[5] Tarek Momen 3-0 Borja Golan (Esp)                 12-10, 11-4, 11-3 (41m)

I played on that court last week in Canary Wharf... I happy with the way I played today, it was  a good match. I hadn't played him since March 2013, so that's exactly 5 years ago so that's a long time, I didn't know what to expect. But I always had tough games with him, so I had to be very focused today.

First game, he gave me a scare, I think I was 9/3 up, and he just played some ridiculous squash, all of a sudden, he was back, and almost wining the game! So I'm happy I managed to scrap that one and the next two, I think I played really well.

When my coach is not here with me, I always take advice from him over the phone. Today he told me that I started really well, but my shots started to loosen up, not deep enough. And Borja took full advantage of that to move me around with his ridiculous boasts and shots. But I'm glad I managed to get it back in the next two!

I'm very happy with the way I've been playing recently, it's been a long time since I've been enjoying myself on the court. The past years have been very tough on me, I was trying very hard but it was not clicking.

But all of a sudden, all seems to be falling into place. I'm very happy now, I'm enjoying myself and I'm playing to get the points, and for the fun of it, which is really good. I hope I keep playing like that, keep the momentum going...

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-1 [Q] Omar Mosaad  11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8 (47m)

Mosaad is a very high quality player, he was a top 4, he's got so much experience. It's always tough playing him.

When I saw the draw and knew I had to play him first round, of course I knew I had to prepare myself for a very different first round compared to other tournaments. I had to be on my toes the whole time from the first point.

I have been having an incredible season, but this is a particularly dangerous time of the season. Everyone is tired, everyone is looking forward to the summer break whereas in fact, you have this tournament here, then Gouna, the British and Dubai: it's actually far from done!

You have to be still sharp mentally, my season is definitely not over, I'm still hungry. I'm going to try and win the last events of the year. I want to win here, I'm going to give it my best shot. I played more than anybody else this season, I have a tough draw here as well.

My goal coming here is to win the tournament. I'm not here to give myself excuses. Yes, I might lose, but I'm going to give it a big shot, I know I'm going to have a big challenge in this tournament, but this is what I train for, this kind of situation. We don't become the best player in the world unless you pass this kind of test, so let's see what happens this week...

13-Mar, Qualifying Finals:

[6] Mazen Hesham 3-0 [3] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)     11-7, 11-4, 11-7 (41m)
[1] Omar Mosaad 3-1 [5] Grégoire Marche (Fra)   5-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-3 (46m)

Match reports

12-Mar, Qualifying Round One:

[1] Omar Mosaad 3-1 Robin Gadola (Sui)           7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-5 (48m)
[5] Grégoire Marche (Fra) 3-0 Olli Tuominen (Fin)         11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (35m)

[6] Mazen Hesham 3-2 Lucas Serme (Fra) 5-11, 11-6, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7 (65m)
[3] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 3-0 Dimitri Steinmann (Sui) 11-5, 11-8, 11-3 (42m)

[8] Adrian Waller (Eng) 3-0 Reiko Peter (Sui)               11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (35m)
Raphael Kandra (Ger) 3-1 [2] Zahed Mohamed    11-5, 11-3, 6-11, 11-6 (43m)


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