| Thierry Lincou (Fra) bt
 Anthony Ricketts (Aus)
11/9, 6/11, 11/7, 7/11, 11/3 (88m)
FRENCH ACE LINCOU WINS ISS CANARY WHARF SQUASH
Alan Thatcher reports
ace Thierry Lincou powered his way past exhausted Australian top seed
Anthony Ricketts to win the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic.
Lincou won 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3 in 88 minutes of high-octane
The match was evenly poised until Ricketts wilted in the fifth game at
the conclusion of his fourth consecutive marathon match.
Going into the match, Ricketts had been on court for 258 minutes of play
compared to 112 by No.2 seed Lincou.
However, the Reading-based Australian was still happy to prolong the
rallies in a 28-minute opening game which Lincou pinched 11-9.
Ricketts hit back strongly to take the second but the pattern continued
as Lincou won the third and the robust Ricketts responded yet again,
drawing on his phenomenal reserves of energy to take the match to a
The full house crowd at the spectacular East Wintergarden venue willed
him to make one final effort but Lincou played tight, stylish and
inventive squash to dominate the game.
At 6-1 down Ricketts mounted a mini recovery but Lincou was too solid to
let it continue and he swiftly regained control to clinch victory.
A delighted Lincou hugged Ricketts, punched the air with joy and walked
slowly around the court to savour the moment of victory.
Next week Ricketts flies to New York to defend his Tournament of
Champions title on the glass court at Grand Central Station and then
heads home to Australia aiming for a gold medal in the Commonwealth
I was a bit nervous because I knew there was going to be a big
crowd, and I didnít want to lose in 15 minutes. But we ended up
having a great match, and thatís whatís important.
"Thierry's touch on this court is just incredible, he catches the
nick all the time, and there is nothing I could do about thatÖ
"I donít think that the physical aspect was determinant at all. I
was still bouncy, I still wanted to chase every ball. Thierry was
just too good. He was patient, his short game was very soft, he took
all his time. I think I wanted to do a bit too much, and I forced
the issue too much.
"Iíve been working so hard on my short game, and I feel that this
week, it let me down, in particular against Parkie in the first
round, and thatís why I was so frustrated, because that is an area
of my game I'm really focusing onÖ.
"There was part of the game when everything floated, where I was
moving well, but then again, Thierry made me work so hard for every
point, I found myself getting excited when I got to 3/3! Normally,
you can feel when you are physically and mentally on top of your
opponent, but today, I never felt that comfortable."
did the job.
"I was ready for this victory for a long time. I havenít won a title
since Pakistan, and I wanted a win.
"To play like I did in the first takes a lot out of you. So then you
try and save as much energy as you can, and you start playing short.
Itís more or less at an unconscious level, and it works by cycle,
youíre out, and then you come back into itÖ
"It was hard to stay focused on the court, because the ball was
getting cold so I was trying to play the ball shorter.
"In the fifth, I knew that if I started well, I would relax and play
some good shots. In the third rally, he tried to pick up the pace,
but he didnít win that rally, and maybe it discouraged him a bit.
"Anthony is so quick, he doesnít give you any time to get organised.
Youíve got to make sure that you are making your own space, your own
time. Youíve got to stick with him at all timesÖ He improved his
short game a lot, and played a few great winners, but made a few
errors. If he hadnít, it could have made all the differenceÖ
"Anthony played 20 games of squash this week, and still today, it
went to 5, so congratulations to him. It was nice to play tonight in
front of a good and passionate crowd. Thanks to the sponsors, to the
organisers, Tim, Peter, Angus and Alan, but especially to the Refs,
they do a hard job, and we appreciate it a lot. Thanks to them.
"At the end of the year, I had a big mental let down, there was so
many tournaments one after the other, with the ranking pressure,
being away from my family. And as I couldnít really relax and have a
break over Christmas, because of Chicago, it really backlashed, and
the drop in the ranking in January didnít help. My mental went right
"This weekend was crucial for me, my defeat against Greg, where he
played so well, and I made so many errors, far too complicated
"I would like to dedicate this victory to my partner, Cťline, who is
day in day out supporting me, and Iím fully aware that living with a
squash player is sometimes very difficult, especially with a baby.
"And also a little wink to my new sponsor ASICS, who saw me lose in
the final of the French Nationals. Hopefully, this victory symbolise
both a renaissance of my career, and a new start for our new