Four-time runner-up Gregory Gaultier says that the pressure is off his shoulders ahead of the 2015 Squash World Championship which is set to take place in the United States for the first time ever when Bellevue, Washington plays host to the prestigious tournament from November 15 – 22.
The ‘French General’ has come excruciatingly close to becoming World Champion on a number of occasions, none more so than the 2006 final in Cairo against David Palmer where, despite going 2-0 up and holding five match balls, he contrived to lose the match.
He also reached in the final in Bermuda 2007, Rotterdam 2011 and Manchester 2013, losing out on those occasions to Amr Shabana and to Nick Matthew, the Englishman winning in Rotterdam and on home ground in Manchester in a 111-minute epic.
But after admitting that he has placed too much pressure on himself to perform and succeed in the past, the Frenchman insists that things are different this time around and that the pressure is off heading into the sport’s biggest event.
“Over the years I have accumulated too much pressure so my focus is just on playing well and feeling free and fluid when I’m on court because the more relaxed I am, then the better I perform, and I do my routines every day to make me as relaxed as possible.
“I train very hard and I’m very disciplined and that’s all designed to help me win titles and major titles like the World Championship so I’m looking forward to it – especially as it’s in a new city which will be amazing for the tournament.
The 32-year-old has had a great start to the 2015/16 season, winning the China Open in September before lifting the first PSA World Series title of the campaign, the Delaware Investments U.S. Open, last month.
Buoyed by his triumph in Philadelphia, Gaultier is hoping to take that confidence into his next appearance stateside.
“The World Championship is the most important tournament in the world,” he said.
“It’s the highest target in the sport and the tournament that you really focus on and spend your summer training for. Everyone wants to peak for this tournament so it’s a huge event. You work hard to lift trophies and enjoy those kind of moments and the adrenaline and everything that goes with it.
“Winning the U.S. Open was a massive boost for me and I’ve felt really good since then and that confidence helps you be more positive when you are correcting things in training as well.”
Gaultier begins his tournament against compatriot Lucas Serme in round one and is seeded to meet top seed Mohamed Elshorbagy in a mouthwatering semi-final fixture which would be a repeat of last week’s Qatar Classic final.
Source: PSA Media report