TODAY in Nantes Fram
11-Sep, Day SEVEN, FINALS:
 Hana Ramadan (Egy) 3-1  Rachael Chadwick (Eng)
2/11, 11/9 (35m)
 Grégoire Marche (Fra) 3-1  Chris Simpson (Eng)
11/6, 11/2 (77m)
 Hana Ramadan (Egy)
3-1  Rachael Chadwick (Eng)
2/11, 11/9 (34m)
RACHAEL NEVER SAID DIE
I am so impressed by both players, who I discovered on this
event, and so happy I did. Both lovely ladies, different
techniques but running and fighting both to the last breath.
Those ladies are credit to squash, and I know they both were
worried of looking not too good on the glass court: be
reassured, you girls looked stunning and a great advert for our
gets a better start today, 3/1, 5/3 and looks very assertive but
Rachael very quickly finds her depth and lethal forehand boast –
I remind you the English is lefthanded – to come back at 5/5,
7/7. She takes the lead for the first time of the match 8/7, and
will carry it to game ball, 10/8.
The battle is fierce, long
rallies with both attacking and retrieving, excellent squash,
but it’s Hana that will win the following 4 points and gets to
12/10 in 9m.
The second game is all about Hana, she is so early on the T, and
I feel that Rachael is a bit tired, both mentally and physically
from the effort in the first game, thinking she was going to
take it, and losing it so closely. 11/4 despite a few huge
rallies at the end, 7m.
The third is a credit to the English young lady, she basically
atomised the young Egyptian, never let her get into the game,
too strong, too fast and hitting too hard.
It looked like we were going to get in a huge match at the
point, especially when Rachael kept the lead in the 4th, 3/1,
but two factors, Hana had rested in the 3rd and I think that
Rachael huge battle yesterday and late finish probably played a
role: she started making a few uncharacteristic errors in the
middle (crucial mentally) of the game, 5/5 to 7/5 for Hana, who
I think took confidence at that point, and even if Rachael
stayed in touch 7/8, a tin allowed the Egyptian to widen the
gap, 10/7 match ball.
But again, what a fighter that Rachael, saving two match balls
and threatening the young girl.
Maybe the lack of experience at
that point was going to make her stumble and force a decider?
But no, with a stunning length on her return of serve, she just
closed the match, 10m last game, 11/9….
The crowd went willlllllllllllllld!!!!!
I think I was more nervous today than
yesterday. I think the pressure was on me, and you can see in
the third how I lost my concentration completely, that was a big
disappointment for me. I didn’t play my best squash, I have to
keep on working, but all credit to Rachael, she really played so
well, she never gave up, came back so strong in the 3rd and 4th,
and even the last two points, she was fighting sooo hard.
still managed to win, which is good I guess! The atmosphere was
just amazing, it’s my first time playing in front of such a
crowd, plus a French crowd. I have a special bond with France,
in Alexandria, I did all my schooling in French, I have my
baccalauréat S, so wining here is very special for me.
I hope my coaches are proud of me, like I said yesterday, thanks
to Karim Shohayeb, Ahmed Shohayeb and Captain Walid, but also my
coaches in England, Richard O’Connor, Mark Fuller, Gordon my
fitness coach, and of course the University of Nottingham who
has been helping me so much. And of course, my dad and mum, who
are always there supporting me. Merci à tout le monde.
 Grégoire Marche (Fra) 3-1  Chris Simpson (Eng)
11/6, 11/2 (77m)
MASSIVE PERFORMANCE FROM THE ACROBAT
No doubt, absolutely no doubt in my mind of two factors: Greg
has acquired – finally some discipline in his squash, thank you
Thierry Lincou I guess, and this week, Greg was carried by the
amazing support/crowd of Nantes Passionate spectators.
Like yesterday, the venue was packed, neophytes and squash
specialists, volunteers (80 of them), parents, kids all over the
place, une atmosphere bonne enfant as we say in French, a bit
closer to El Gouna than the British Open, THANK GOD FOR THAT.
Warmth, passion and squash are in my view a much better mix than
trying to make our sport fit in a rigid structure it doesn’t
belong to whatsoever, yet anyway. Maybe one day. But not now….
Greg started with power and intent. Attacking much more than I
ever saw him do, but doing it in a control manner, not all over
the place, not burst of madness and intense pace. No controlled
and intense. And Chris was a bit slow of the blocks – I think
the very very late finish didn’t help the English quite
logically. We finished the match at past midnight whereas Greg
finished around 8….
The 11/6 18m first game under the belt, it looked like it was
going to be a simple affair for the Frenchman, but que nenni.
Not whatsoever. Changing his tactics, taking the ball earlier
and being more aggressive/proactive, Chris soon took the control
of the T away from the French and we definitely has a match on
our hands when the Englishman got the second in 20m, 11/8, from
third is the decider really. And Greg is flying in that one. A
bit late arriving on court, I have the feeling is on the phone
with the Guv Lincou in Boston. Whatever the man said, it worked.
Greg is back on the same mental and physically strength than he
attacked the math with, and the result is fast to come: 3/1, 6/2
7/4, 8/5. Chris is still in the rallies, still running and doing
a lot of work, but you can see he is just a few tenth of a
second late on the ball, cannot adjust his shots enough. Three
tins in 4 points for the Englishman, that’s not his normal game…
11/6 in 18 long minutes still.
Greg is completely in control in the 4th, Chris is visibly
tired, and the French crowd is literally breaking the place
down, the thumbing of the feet is making the glasscourt
vibrate!!!! 10/1, 11/2, 7m last game.
The crowd goes absolutely wiiiiiiiiild, and the Frenchman keeps
his title, his biggest ever I’m told…. Impressive performance,
impressive event, impressive crowd.
Today, I felt really good from the beginning.
I think the key today was my length, I had a great length from
the beginning and my drives were working pretty well. Similar to
yesterday, my tactics were from my coach Thierry Lincou who was
in Boston. We talked before the match and between games, it was
not easy. I think that my length was the key today: my drives
were working pretty well today, I found my length first, kept
the same rhythm and I was in front of him all match.
I was a bit nervous in the second game, and I think, maybe one
or two years ago, I wouldn’t be able to keep the same
concentration like I did today. But thanks to Thierry’s advice,
I was able to give a little boost of concentration in the third
and get in front of him again.
I was more patient today, I have been working on my length, and
now I’m using my physicality not only to defend, but to attack,
taking the T quicker to take the time away from my opponent,
shortening the rallies and therefore allowing me to last the
whole match saving my energy.
And you could see in the second, when I lost my length, he was
all over me. Now I attack, but with discipline, with more
thoughts and structure. I’ve worked on this a lot since last
year, so today I’m really happy that the work is paying off.
I need to thank my coach Thierry Lincou of course, and my
fitness coach, Thomas Adriens, even a little wobbly moment, we
are back on track, and we really worked so well together this
summer, I’m glad that it’s showing on the court. And having
Thierry’s support, even from afar makes me feel I’m part of a
team. And that makes the whole difference.
I want to thank my parents who have done so much for me, over
the years. They rarely came on the tour as they were working so
hard at the club in Valence, but now they sold it, they are
going to be able to join me in San Francisco in two weeks, then
in NY maybe. And it will be great for them to finally see what’s
it’s all about…
It’s my biggest title on the Tour, so it’s a great day.
Everything worked, the crowd was a big part of the story here in
Nantes as well. So rare we get to play in France in such
conditions, this is ENORMOUS!!!
I’m tired, and I was outplayed today. He was in
front of me far too often and he was all over me.
The ball was very fast today, and it suited his game more than
Even in the second, my length was not as good as his, and
it was taking far too much out of me to win points.
It was one of these days I have to say even from the warm up, I
felt very flat, from that late finish, didn’t go to sleep before
I was a bit disappointed with my performance, but overall, I
think I did ok this week.
From a players point of view, it was a great event, playing in
front of such crowds, it makes us feel like rockstars really,
amazing feeling, and although I was playing Greg in his own
backyard, I found the crowd very fair.
I enjoyed the occasion a
lot, and I lost against a real deserving champion…