BUILDING ON 25 YEARS OF
This 2017 has shown a real determination
of the Qatar Squash Federation to take Squash to
another level, building on the success of their predecessors - who
started the event in 1992.
event cannot last 25 years without a solid foundation, and it's a
real pleasure to see the new Federation board -
led by Mr
Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, President of the Qatar
Tennis, Squash and Badminton Federation, supported/organised by
Mr Tareq Zainal, Tournament Director - embrace our sport
in such impressive manner.
"This is a major event on the World Squash Calendar"
said the Paris St Germain Chairman & CEO Mr Nasser El-Khelaïfi.
"Our Federation is delighted to host the event with the spirit and
energy seen by everyone during the tournament.
"I applaud the players for providing the fans with a week
of fantastic squash. I also appreciate the efforts put by
the Organising Team who did everything in their power to
showcase a top quality tournament. It has been fun watching the
top players in action.
"I am sure this tournament will grow further in the years to
come," he concluded.
"Qatar takes great pride in hosting world class sports events
and we have promoted the 2017 Qatar Classic tournament with a
zeal appreciated by sports fans.
"We are delighted to host the world's best players and to get
positive feedback from them means a job well done!"
WHAT WAS NEW THIS YEAR
Plenty for sure, and I may forget a few things, don't shoot!
Branding was different. The Event chose five top players -
Greg, Gawad, Shorbagy Snr, Ali and Nick - and posted them
not only all over the Khalifa Complex, but all over the place in
It was extremely impressive, and gave a true feeling of
the importance the event holds for Qatar.
Complex - whether the place itself or the glasscourt - was
given the "Blue Treatment". The backwall seats were recovered
in blue fabric, the side walls were branded with the QatarClassic 2017, an impressive poster with the Doha Skyline
was put on the front wall, and on both sides of the court, the
"light/fame" walk allowed the players to arrive in flashing
lights and style.
outside the public entrance, some food/drinks outlets
were installed, allowing the fans to relax before/between the
Like I mentioned in my article about the
Four Seasons, this year
the players enjoyed the comfort of having their own single room,
the only tournament on the PSA Tour that offers that luxury. And
for good measure, the players also enjoyed free laundry...
unique feature, the "BMW Army", mainly Black and
a few White, branded with the Official Qatar Classic Logo, were
driving us. The most we had to wait was 3 minutes - as
exceptionally, the cars had to be parked on the other side of
the hotel for about 6 hours. As French King Louis XIV said: "I
And I have to say I truly appreciated the fact that the car was
right in front of the hotel door at 4.55am on Saturday morning,
to drive me to the airport!
beginning, we are all a bit nervous. It was difficult for Steve
and I to imagine the event without Hisham Algosaibi and
Alaaeldin Allouba, with who we had been working for 12
years and who we consider as friends.
But soon Mohamed El Said, Redab Masoud &
Giancarlo Douvis made sure we were working in the best of
Mohamed was always there to support us when we needed
help and his smile/care made our lives much easier! Thanks ever
How would have I survived without his help??!!! As the protocol
was very strict this year, he personally made sure I had the
relevant authorisation to be able to move in and out of the
Centre Court without disturbing play, and as my normal seat was
not available this year, he made sure that the seat next to the
one allocated to me was transformed in a table - allowing me to
put my computer there during the matches!
He basically saved my life. Nothing less. Merci, merci, merci...
the Palme d'Or goes to Redab, who was the Media liaison,
and made sure that all our requests were fulfilled - well, 99%
of them anyway!!!!
Her kindness, sensitivity, vision, understanding of human nature
and humour made her my new best friend in Doha. Can't wait to
welcome her in France...
She made me work with lovely dedicated people, like Samer,
official photographer and great professional indeed, Ahmed
and the lovely dedicated adorable Mariam, with who I
could speak French and who was a great help all week.
and her team made sure the Press was well looked after. We had
our normal press room, but two more squash courts were
transformed for our benefits: we had an all-day finger buffet -
tea/coffee/soft drinks - and some comfortable sofas with tables
for those who had time to take a break!
The following court was now a press conference room, extremely
comfortable for the Players and Press alike.
Redab had a lot of Media from everywhere in the world, with a
very heavy presence from BeIn, obviously!
They were filming and broadcasting live from the first day. And
it was very nice to meet again with BeIn squash star
commentator, Ibrahim El Mezyn.
Needless to say that the Players' Lounge also had been
upgraded, with larger sofas, nice temperature, drinks and food
So here we draw the curtain on the 2017 Edition. Can't wait to
see what the Team has prepared for us next year Inshallah...
The Frog, signing off.
"We are glad to have in our tournament the Elite of World
Squash, and we are delighted to offer them the best of
facilities and conditions we feel they deserve. And that
includes a good night's sleep..."
"I hope that other tournaments will follow suit and provide in
turn the recognition and conditions these amazing Modern Time