Greg started to show his French nose on the circuit, he was a
stunning shot maker. Then, under Thierry’s influence, he
learned how to tighten the ball at the back. But tonight, he
added the couple in plastic on the wedding cake: he now
volleys, and makes it impossible for the ball to get past him.
Tonight Shabana, who I gave the winner for this one, didn’t do
much wrong, except maybe rushing a bit the end of the rallies
to try and finish it off. But that must have come from the
frustration that he displayed as the match unfolded – and cost
him a conduct warning and a conduct stroke for racquet abuse.
Greg made seven unforced errors in the first game, still
taking it 11/9, but soon got the balance right, dropping to
one in the second, and to none in the third, while Shabs kept
his at a normal level, 4, 4, 2. What I mean is, the Prince of
Egypt didn’t throw it away. Not for a minute. It was like he
just couldn’t find the key to unlock Greg's calmness -
whatever stunning shot at the back or the front he would play,
the Frenchman had the correct answer.
Like the world number one stated, it’s a good lesson today, he
learnt, will work on it, and next time will do it differently.
But as far as Greg is concerned, the French Kid just went
threw a tough period, is undergoing some difficult life
changes, and this victory can only confirm him that he has
taken the right decisions.
Then, I’ve know Ziad for four, five years now, and I think we
are so lucky to have him, as he took the game of squash to
another level. And also, we are lucky to have Paul Walters,
who is raising the profile of squash in England, with the
British Open and now this Super Series Finals. Thanks to him
and his team, thanks to that great plateau, hopefully one day,
squash will reach the status it deserve.
"No, tonight, I couldn’t get control of the T, and although I
was leading in all the game, I just couldn’t finish it off,
maybe I got a bit anxious trying to finish it off.
"I should have stuck in a bit more, I got a bit too careless,
and at that level of game you can’t afford that. So next time,
I’ll try to stick to my game plan, instead of changing my mind
in the middle of the game.
"At the end of the day, Greg played better than me tonight,
and deserves to win."
to Shabana for such a great match, he is such a great
champion, he is a role model for all of us, and without him, I
wouldn’t improve, as he is pushing me to get better… And if I
can achieve a third of what he achieved, I’ll be happy.
"I was very relaxed tonight, calm and serene. I’ve been
working on a lot of things recently, and it’s starting to
"I wanted to thank Ziad, for the support he gives to the
sport, and also for being a cool guy! Which makes it even
better. And of course, Paul, and his team, and least but not
last, Robert, with whom I had a lot of talks recently, who has
been with us for many years, and hopefully for many years to
"I want to thank Pierre, my osteopath, who’s been treating me
all this week, and supporting me, and my coach, my mental
coach, my federation, and of course, of course, my girlfriend…
"This year has been great for me, I’ve learned a lot of
things. I’m in the process of transforming a lot in my life
both on a technical point of view and on a personal one, my
attitude and behaviour in particular. It doesn’t mean I won’t
have any faults left, but I’m working very hard on trying and
getting a better person."
a great event, Paul and his team – Rachel, Craig and Lee, the
unsung hero, who goes to work when we go to sleep – run a
tight ship. And I’m so happy that Robert came out of
retirement to come here, and also for the fact he has accepted
to stay with ATCO until the
World Open in Saudi in 2010.
"We’ve got big plans for this event, we hope to be able to
tell you about it very soon. And we are so blessed in England
to have such great events as Canary Wharf, the British Open,
the English Open and English Grand Prix, not to forget that
the World Open is coming to Manchester as well. We are really
lucky, and going to enjoy a lot of great squash in the coming
just had two major events back to back, that takes a lot of
energy, and very little sleep, but when I saw the
extraordinary final between James and David last week, it gave
me the strength to go on!
"This week has been fantastic, and seeing the intensity of the
matches shows how much this event means to the players. "I
always have a thought for Jonah Barrington, who is the one
that inspired me to play squash, although not to such a good
level, and the motivation to take on the British Open…
"I want to thank Ziad of course, without him this event
wouldn’t exist, and also my team, Rachel, Craig, who are a big
part of the success of the event. But at the end of the day,
without Ziad, nothing would have been possible…"
if to show me off as what I am, somebody who doesn’t know
squat about squash – read my report yesterday about Thierry’s
technique – my compatriot displayed tonight some stunning
technique and variety of shots that I hadn’t seen him display
for a very long time – since he played Ramy in Chicago after
his wedding some two years ago, in fact, while David was
replying shot per shot, matching speed, force, strength, and
humour for the great pleasure of the crowd.
And in a match where the outcome was unimportant, both players
offered the crowd a great opening to the day, as in a match
where they both pushed enough to entertain, not enough to kill
each other for it. Still, the court sweepers had to be called
several times, as those two were dripping wet throughout.
I personally enjoyed it thoroughly, and like all the
spectators around me, it was entertaining, it was still
intense enough to be interesting, but most of all, it was
played in the spirit intended. Two great champions on there…
very happy with my end of the season. Like I said several
times, I had a bad six months, but I’m really happy with the
way it finished.
"Because of the move, of the injuries, I dropped off the pace,
and I had to put my foot down, and get back to work. The
"And if somebody had told me three weeks ago that I would win
my fourth British Open title, and that I would end up in the
semis here, I guess I would have taken it!!!!!!
Thierry and I are over thirty now, the oldest of the top
players, and I think we are doing really good to keep up with
young kids like Ramy, Greg, etc! We won’t win all the
tournaments, but as long as the body is fit and injury free,
we’ll go on competing.
"I’m finishing 6, 7th this season, and it encourages me to
come back to the top four. Also, those results give me the
confidence to try and come back to win some big tournaments
like the Worlds here in Manchester, then Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar,
and similar top events…
"As far as this tournament is concerned, I think we’ve found
the perfect combination, with Ziad as the front man, Paul and
Rachel running it, and Robert in the wings, calling the shots!
If we could package it every time I think it would be a
"And what a splendid event, great organisation, great squash,
and great atmosphere…"
really happy with my last six months, since January in fact.
I’m on a positive momentum, with a good return of form, but
more important, a boost of motivation. I’ve now recovered from
a mental point of view, but also from a physical one, from an
injury that marked me deeply.
"This second part of the season, a victory, then three semis,
back in the top five, then a semi in this prestigious event.
It’s a great feeling for different reasons, one of them being
happy to see that my wife Celine’s sacrifices are not in vain.
And this tournament is the cherry on the cake…
"Tonight was “que du bonheur”, “only pure happiness”, a super
moment in a squash player’s career. I took a real pleasure in
playing some good squash, displaying the technical qualities I
possess, with a sprinkle of French Flair! Who could ask for
anything more, with a great tournament, with good prize money,
superbly organised, to crown the season… All good….
"I’m happy to have a bit of a rest now, for a couple of weeks,
we deserve it after a very long season of travelling, fatigue,
and hectic schedule. So now, I’m looking forward to go home,
enjoy a simple life, on my “own island”…"