Recently retired four-time World Champion Amr Shabana has backed a fellow Egyptian to reach the final of the 2015 PSA Men’s World Championship in Bellevue, Washington – and continue the country’s recent dominance over the sport.
The country has become a real force in the last decade with seven of the last 12 World Championship titles heading back to Egypt and with five Egyptians currently residing inside the top 10 in the World Rankings.
However, ’The Maestro’, whose last World Championship triumph came in 2009 in Kuwait, admits that it is a dangerous draw and the player who can best handle the pressure of playing in the sport’s biggest event will be the one who comes out on top.
“I tend to try and not pick contenders [to win] because, when I won my first World Championship title in 2003, I wasn’t even ranked in the top ten and had never, up to that point, reached the semi-final of a major PSA event so, for me, anyone in the draw is considered dangerous,” said Shabana.
“The contenders who are going to be on form are the ones who are able to balance the pressure in their frame of mind between the importance of the World Championship and their ability to stay calm and focused on the job in hand, which is winning the next match.
“Of course, not being injured can always help.”
Shabana did hint however that defending World Champion Ramy Ashour, the man Shabana defeated in the 2009 final, could be the man to beat this time around if he recovers from the injury woes that saw his time at the recent Delaware Investments U.S. Open cut short prior to withdrawing from the Qatar Classic.
“Ramy has won the World Championship three times so it is fair to say he can defend his title if he’s not injured,” he said.
“Don’t forget though that there are at least a dozen players who can always turn it on as they are squash players of the highest calibre. To write anyone off at this point, if they’re not injured, would be a huge error.
“My prediction would be that there could be an Egyptian in the final.”
Source: PSA Media Report
Shabana’s World Champs Record:
1998 Qatar – Round One
1999 Egypt – Round Three
2002 Belgium – Round Three
2003 Pakistan – WINNER
2004 Qatar – Quarters
2005 Hong Kong – WINNER
2006 Egypt – Semis
2007 Bermuda – WINNER
2008 England – Semis
2009 Kuwait – WINNER
2010 Saudi – Semis
2011 Netherlands – Quarters
2012 Qatar – Quarters
2013 England – Quarters
2014 Qatar – Quarters