Qatar PSA World Championship  •  06-14 Dec 2012  • 12-21 Nov 2014 •  Doha  •

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  Today in Doha: Fri 14th Dec, Day NINE, the Final
 
Fram in Doha, Qatar - Steve in Cayman .... 

The FINAL :                                      Full draw & Results


[5] Ramy Ashour
3-2 [8] Mohamed El Shorbagy
2/11, 11/6, 11/5, 9/11, 11/8 (90m)

 Report & Quotes on the BLOG

Ramy takes it all in Doha

Ramy Ashour is the new World Champion - and World Number One - after winning a dramatic five-game final against compatriot Mohamed El Shorbagy in Doha ...

DEAD MEN PLAYING…

This was the weirdest match ever. We had two “Dead Men Walking”, playing slow motion for about 90% of the match, and to a ridiculous pace for the left 10%.

If Mohamed was dead from dead after his matches against Karim and James, he was still using his brain fine, thank you very much. Meanwhile Ramy, with bandages all over the body (after his match against Nick, he had four packs of ice on his body, from shoulders to hamstring to the back and most importantly the quads).

So, to give you the atmosphere of the match. Imagine a boxing ring yes? People everywhere, chanting Ramy, or Mohamed, and on the ring, our two exhausted boxers starting the 15th and last round. And that was the start of the match. You think I’m exaggerating?? Have a look at the video. I’m not.

Ramy was so cautious with his body when they started. He was testing it, stretching to try and catch whatever a “giving it all from the start Shorbagy” was throwing at him. Trying to tell his demons to go away and leave him alone while the contender was stringing the points away. And the people that thought we were going to have a quickie 3/0 in 20m for Ramy were very surprised. First game to Mohamed in 10m, 11/2. The plot suddenly thickened….

Change of pace in the 2nd, at 0/2, Ramy decides that yes, his body can take the strain, and start hitting “Ramy’s Shots”, you know, the volleys that ends in the nick with no effort, just a flick of the wrist? Yes, those ones. Short rallies. One long one at 5/4 Ramy to serve. Ramy with the momentum 8/4 and finishes it off, tiring a bit the young man in the process, 12m, 11/6.

The third, Mohamed is just showing how exhausted he is. Ramy takes full advantage of the 5 errors his opponent gives him, 8/2. But Shorbagy hasn’t said his last word. Slowly he starts to “reprendre du poil de la bęte”, to recover his composure, not his second wind yet but close. Two great rallies at 9/4, 10/4, with a young man extremely positive. He loses the 3rd 11/5, in 15m….

The fourth is a classic. Shorbagy, now with his second wind well in place is leading the dance, finding perfect width and length, coupled with stunning attacks that leave Ramy on the backfoot.

At 8/5, Mohamed looks suddenly very tired, and tins two points. And he is saved by his racquet, string gone. He goes out, and the little time he gets is actually enough to give him the bit of fresh air he needs. At that age, God they recover so quickly!!!

8/8. 9/9. At that point, those two play the most ridiculous rally I have ever seen. It’s just unreal, surreal, incredible, sublime, ridiculous, you call it the way you like. And it’s Shorbagy that finally wins that one, the crowd is just on their feet. 10/9 Mohamed, and in three shots, he has forced a decider. That game was 21m.

“Easy 3/0 for Ramy”. I’m still smiling when I think of the number of people that told me that before the match….


5th. Ramy is taking an excellent start, but still playing slow motion. He can’t push on the legs, he can’t really stretch, and he is trying to avoid to run. Easy to play squash with those parameters. But then again, Shorbagy has been running on fumes since yesterday, bless him!!!!

4/1, 5/2 Ramy. Shorbaby gets his second, no, third wind, and with three amazing rallies, comes back to 7/7. We are honestly all at the edge of our seats. I don’t have any nails. And I don’t think Basma Shorbagy (Mohamed’s mother, who celebrated her birthday today) has many left either.

Still that slow motion from Ramy, and it’s Shorbagy that gets a little edge, 8/7. Everything is still possible. But the fumes are dissipating, there is nothing, absolutely nothing left in Shorbagy’s tank. An error, a stroke for Ramy, match ball, 10/8.

A let that could have been a stroke, Ramy raises his arms. “Let” says the ref. But a last tin for Mohamed. And this time, it’s for good, 25m, 11/8 for Ramy.

Against all odds, a not so good draw to say the least, multiple injuries, and an amazing Shorbagy with nothing to lose in 90m of a surreal match, Ramy Ashour is not only World Number 1, but also World Champion for the second time.

And as I predicted, I’m crying with Mohamed, and laughing with Ramy.

Normal day at the office, really.



When I got on court, I knew my body could snap at any minute [he shows me the different bandage on the quads, shoulders], and we were both exhausted. Just look at the video, you’ll see it was a very different match from what we normally play.

The only thing I was trying to do today was to stay calm. Because my thoughts were like, how can I describe it, a washing machine in my head. And I had to calm myself down, So, the hardest thing is to think only of the ball, your opponent, and on NOW. And yes, I am getting stronger, that makes a big difference…

He played amazing squash and this is the most relaxed I EVER saw him play!!! He was nicking shots from everywhere, and any loose shot he would go for it. This was an amazing match, with Shorbagy, you never know where the ball is going to go, unless you are reading his mind, which is not easy to achieve….

I’m so glad I’ve won this tournament, after coming back from injury, this is the best reward I could get. The second time is actually the sweetest. The first time round, it was nice, but somehow, it didn’t feel as good as this time, because I’ve been through so much. And it’s only when something it taken away from you that you truly appreciate it. So, after all what I just live and survived to, this victory, this title, feels different. I’m glad and I’m proud.

Shorbagy is such an amazing player, and we did Egypt proud tonight. Hopefully, more of the same finals to come….

So many people I need to thank, the credit list is a bit long! First, my parents, who always supported and believed in me. My brother, always on my side. I don’t have a coach in the academic sense of the word. I don’t have a coach in the academic sense of the word, I have training partners, Hossain Shahhad, Haitham Ashoush, and coach Amin Dabo.

To the list we add Christiano Eirale, Richard Allen, John the physio without whom I wouldn’t be even walking today, Alex the masseur, and in Egypt, Tino my physio. Also, my sponsors Egypt Air and Dunlop for their support, my manager Fatma Kader for being there for me and supporting me all the way.

And you Fram, for giving me the inspiration to come to Aspetar Hospital and get myself sorted. And my Squash Academy, Inspire, all the kids that have been watching the matches every day. I want to dedicate this victory to them and to the Moderate Egyptians people…

Today, I really wanted to win, and I’m proud because one, I managed to handle the immense pressure I had put on myself – I’ll have to try and work on that for next time, being more relaxed, although how can you be relaxed when you are in the final of the Worlds! – and two, he was playing so well. I can predict he is going to stay in the top 5 for a while…

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Hard to take right now. Hard when you were only 3 points away from the World Title. Yes, it’s a hard feeling I’m feeling, but I have played a squash level I wouldn’t have expected that early in my career. I was hoping one day to play at that level, but not at this point in time. Today, this week, I really surprised myself.

I knew that if I had tried and match his pace, I would have lost, as nobody is as good at him at the pace, I couldn’t not have kept the pace… So I tried and made it simple.

I would like to thank once again my parents, my brother, Amr Mansi, and of course Jonah. And Alex the physio, without him I just wouldn't be walking this morning. He kept me alive!!!.

And like Ramy said, I think we are going to play a lot of finals together in the future. Again, I thought we were one day going to play in a final together, but not now, and what a time to do it, the final of the Worlds!!!!

Now, nothing can stop me from playing those top guys, maybe they will be a bit more weary for me next time they play me as well… And I’m really really, really hungry now.

I am so happy for Egypt, we didn’t have an all Egyptian final for a while, it’s been more an English domination recently, so for our country, this was precious. And I hope it continues for a little while!!!!

Now, Ramy is back, world number 1, World Champion, and nobody deserves it more than him because after what he’s been through, coming back from that injury… And he says that Nick is the strongest playing mentally. Well, he is one of a kind too, I don’t think that many people would have managed to come back to that level from where he was. He has an amazing talent.

I just hope that in the future, we’ll also have an amazing rivalry for the years to come, that all the matches will be like this one. This is what I train for. This is what I live for.

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