NOTHING STOPS SQUASH IN EGYPT, NOT EVEN
11 points with Mohamed El Shorbagy
THE BIG INTERVIEW #3: MOHAMED EL SHORBAGY
TALKS TO ALAN THATCHER
You qualified before and beat Nick Matthew on the glass court.
You have obviously come a long way since then and are now six in
the world. Please describe how you have developed your game
Last time I played the tournament was three years back and I did
have a very good run. I think I have matured on court more now
and have taken my game to the next level in order to be able to
compete with the top players consistently.
How are you dividing your time between studying in Bristol,
training with Jonah Barrington and playing on the PSA World
I am trying my best to organise my time very carefully between
my studies and squash. I do think doing something else with
squash is very important for the brain.
For me I would just go crazy mentally if I kept doing nothing
except squash every day. Plus, I do think studies open up the
mind to situations in life. Also I didn't want everything I know
in life to be just squash. I wanted to be well educated.
3: Biggest lessons you have learned on the World Tour?
I have learnt a lot on the World Tour, especially from the top
professional players. The way they are able to get a win when
they are not at their best days is incredible.
Also, the way the top players respect each other on and off
court is very good for the sport. They are friendly with each
other off court and on court they all know it’s business and
they are all very professional about it.
Your thoughts on the differences in the way young players are
developed in England and Egypt?
I think the English juniors play at better game structure than
the Egyptians juniors. But also the Egyptian juniors have way
more shots and options on court. I do feel from my experience in
living in England that the Egyptian juniors train much harder.
I would really think that this is because of the PARENTS in
Egypt always pushing their children. They are always after them
to train very hard and everyone could see at the British Junior
Open, for example, that the number of Egyptian parents who come
over is actually incredible!
5: Your thoughts on playing at Canary Wharf?
For me this is one of the best venues of the year. I just love
playing it and I think having the world number 1 and 2 playing
in it just says it all really. Tim Garner does everything to
comfort the players.
I never mentioned it before but he was actually very helpful for
me at the beginning of my career as I did start getting into the
professional by playing his BSPA tournaments. And then five
years back he gave me a local spot in Canary Wharf, which was
something very special to do, giving an Egyptian junior a local
in a tournament in England. And when I won my first
qualification round that got me inside the top 100 too so I will
always be thankful to him.
You and your brother both reached the quarter-finals at the ToC
in New York? How was that whole experience?
It was such an amazing
experience having two Shorbagys in the quarter-finals! Both of
us were helping each other and just being there for each other.
Waking up every morning, having a hit together, it was really
Who knows, but we really hope one day we can play each other in
the final of a World Series tournament. We were saying to each
other that we were only two matches away from doing it.
7: How are things for your family back home in Egypt
Luckily my Dad keep moving in the Arab countries (Egypt not
included) for work. My mum is sometimes with us in England, and
sometimes she is with my dad. But for my grandparents and all
they are all fine. Nothing bad happened to them.
Is squash able to thrive in Egypt against this background of
turmoil that we see on television and read about in the media?
"Nothing stops squash in Egypt!!"
9: Have any major clubs been affected by the
To be honest some clubs were affected, especially financially,
but things are getting sorted now and getting better and
hopefully when the new president will be elected in June things
will be 100% fine and even better than before.
10: What are your
personal goals for the rest of 2012?
At the moment the players I am playing against are not my
generation of players. All of them are almost nine years older
than me and I have been competing with them for almost three
years now. But I know in few years’ time the top 10 players will
just be my generation of players so I do feel lucky that I was
the only player from my generation to be able to play with them
for these years and get all these experiences from them.
So my goal for the rest of the year is to be able to play with
this generation as much as I can and enjoy it.
Please tell us about your sponsors and any other people who are
helping you and your brother.
A: I was in Millfield for three years, where I was
training under the great Jonah Barrington and his head coach,
Then I moved to Bristol and that's where I am based at the
moment, training under Hadrian Stiff and being sponsored
academically by the University Of The West Of England.
They absolutely provide me with everything I need for my
training and they do everything they can to help me with
organising my time with the studies and tournaments.
I am sponsored by Tecnifibre. I consider Tecnifibre as a family
for me because of the way they take care of me.