Another Event in the Best of Conditions…
have been a bit
struggling to write stories this time round.
First I struggled with my sleep pattern for some strange reason,
and to be honest, I was a bit on automatic pilot for the first
Plus, this year, I’ve been adding a
Press Page – that
complements my every day Press Alerts/Fram’s Corner/BestofTweets,
as the event always get excellent international and local
I am particularly keen on showing the work of Rod
Gilmour in the Telegraph – English Perspective – and Richard Eaton
for the AFP (as in for the world), who concentrate on Greg
and the Egyptians. Plus, when I manage to catch Richard’s round
up, he is probably the best round up writer I’ve ever came
across in English.
And all that takes an awful lot of time to organise. So I am
only now managing to sit down, and reflex on what is going to
stay in my mind like one of the best tournaments I had the
honour to cover so far.
some of the tournaments drop the hotel quality, Qatar has again
offered us of Qatar best accommodations.
Vast and refurbished
rooms, close to the venue, fantastic food, not only in
quantity/quality, but at a very cheap price for the players –
you know they like it when you see them all there.
room service is excellent, and that is for the players
paramount. They also have been kind enough to extend the buffet
to some uncanny hours to help players/officials to get their
meals after the night matches.
add to that a superb pool at the top floor, 26th, where I
managed to go and create waves this time round twice – not like the
previous years where I just worked, worked, worked.
As I have a
4th surgery for my knees coming up in Jan, I am under
instruction to keep working those quads. That’s my story, and
I’ll stick to it!
A spa that is beautifully cleaned – Jacuzzi,
with a view to die for, swimming pool with a 300° view of Qatar,
nice length that allows to really train, a massage to die for
(ask for Lea, best 60m I ever had, and I’m paying for them, this
is not a sponsored-advert!). Don’t miss it if you come to Doha,
cannot beat Qatar for the care they give to transport. No
shuttles. Just private cars. And plenty of them. All week, the
maximum I waited for a car was 8m. Helllllloooo???? That makes a
huge difference for the players. Brand new cars, excellent
drivers, smiling, efficient. Impeccable. Not to mention of
course that we are picked up from the airport and driven back,
whatever time of night/day we are travelling.
If the “old press room” was a bit cold and could be noisy,
we are now on the squash court, and that is a huuuuge
Physio: Like the Press, the physios have a whole of a squash
court with treatment beds, screens, fridges for the ice, etc.
Refs: And the refs bless them, have got the special rooms where
they can collude and rest. And we need them fresh.
If the old court (that was one of the first glass court as a
main fixture on the Tour) was a bit not that young anymore – and a
nightmare for the Photographers as they had only a little square
to share between them all, this one is very easy for them.
Plus, they have got a corridor that allows them (and us Media) to
circulate in and out of the back of the court not disturbing the
If I wrote one day that I was so cold that you could wrap me in
a glossy paper and sell me as an ice-cream, those days are over
PRAISE THE GODS OF SQUASH!
With the new court/flooring, the temperature is cool, but not
cold. And a little extra jumper is enough to keep you perfectly
Contrarily to what some grumpy tweeters seem to believe, there
is a great atmosphere out there, and plenty of support for the
And what makes it special here – if you compare it with
Manchester for example, where 99% of the crowd was supporting
the English players, quite rightly I may add – here, all the
nations get support.
Borja got his loud supporters, Cameron had
them, Cops had the Whole of the South African delegation rooting
for him, not forgetting the French Ambassador/expats for Greg,
Nick having a strong base of supporters, and of course, of
course, immense loud support for all the Egyptians.
last year, the attendance was poor, but that was nothing to do
with squash. The roads to get to the venue were closed up
because of some roadworks, and it was nearly impossible for the
spectators to make it to the venue at peak traffic time.
lady tried to come to the venue, and after 90m of turning in
circle around the place, just gave up and went home. Only from
the latest stage did we have people.
But this year, only the second day was a bit quiet. All the
other days, people have been coming and supporting the
Thing is, it’s not always shown on TV, as the
spectators are higher in the Gods, for security reasons. So you
think the place is empty, but in fact, the people are just
higher than the camera shows.
In other words people ...
I know it’s very fashionable at the moment to slag off Qatar.
With all the hoo-ha about the World Cup, everybody has got
something to say about Qatar.
And the louder are the ones that
never came here. The ones that only read about it. And to be
perfect clear, don’t have an effing clue.
for us, who have been coming to Qatar forever, we know better. I
agree, not everything is perfect – you know a place in the world
that is??? – no, I don’t agree with a lot of things that happen
in Qatar, but I don’t agree with a lot of things that happen in
the US, GB or France. Let’s stop the hypocrisy for a moment,
Mr Ali Bin Ali, The
Qatari Federation and the Qatari people that have been supporting
squash for years, and were treating players to 5 stars palaces
where they were billeted elsewhere, Qatar as I’ve said, is
giving us more than money and care. They are giving us all what
a few promoters elsewhere wouldn’t know how to spell:
I think it’s time we start and give them the courtesy of
returning that respect. Don’t you?
Do you know
about Qatar History?
Here's your chance to learn
Qatar: All About
Do you know Aspire or Aspetar, where Ramy got himself sorted
(please note that
Stewart Boswell & Jonathan Kemp have replaced Geoff Hunt and Dan
Ramy and some of the drivers