11 POINTS WITH
Interview by ALAN
What a year itís been for you, with some excellent performances
and a steady rise up the rankings to occupy a place in the world
You were runner-up in two tournaments, the China Open and the
Kolkata Open, reached the semi-finals of the Bluenose Classic in
Halifax, Nova Scotia, and reached the quarter-finals of the
Macau Open and Tournament of Champions in New York.
Which of those performances stand out, and why?
The China Open, of course, was a special one for me as I beat
three top 15 players in the space of three days. It is also the
main reason why I got into the top 10, which has always been a
dream for me. I remember it very well as I have played the best
squash of my life in this tournament.
of course playing squash on The Bund in Shanghai made it extra
special for me. The tournament in Shanghai is very well
organized. I remember warming up before each match in my hotel
room on the 11th floor and the glass court was on the same floor
as my room. Life was just so easy!
Also, reaching the quarters at the Tournament of Champions and
almost beating Nick Matthew is also a good sign for me for this
2: Your first round opponent at Canary Wharf is fellow
Egyptian Fares Dessouki. How would you describe Faresí style of
play? What are you expecting?
is a very good player. He's coming up very fast. He made the top
20 a few months ago and I'm sure he's hungry for more success. I
think for me this could be the most exciting first round match
of the tournament and I'm sure Fares
and I will give it everything to entertain the crowd.
3: With Canary Wharf completely sold out, you will be
playing in front of a full-house crowd on the opening day at the
East Wintergarden. As a professional, how does that make you
Last time I played in Canary Wharf was in 2012 so to get the
opportunity of playing in one of the best venues in the world
again is amazing. Every time I step on court in a wonderful
venue like the East Wintergarden I feel blessed to have this
I always tell myself to make
the most of it because you are never sure whether you will be
able to come back again for the year after or not.
I'm very excited to be back at Canary Wharf and to play on front
of such an amazing crowd makes it more special for all the
4: There are four Egyptians in the top half of the draw,
with Mazen Hesham meeting wild card Ben Coleman and top seed
Omar Mosaad playing Chris Simpson in the first round.
I know this could be a long answer, but what do you think are
the reasons for Egyptian squash being in such a strong position
Squash in Egypt is big. When you go to a local tournament in
Egypt you will find 200 kids competing only in the Under-11s
category, so imagine 200 kids with their 200 parents and coaches
in every category.
Trust me, as a junior in Egypt you go through a lot at such a
young age. The atmosphere in the local tournaments is very
competitive and it makes the kids work harder every time to try
and make it.
And, of course, the parents in Egypt push their kids all the
time to train while trying to make them get a degree at the same
This is the norm for squash in Egypt but for me things were
different as I have been living in England for the past nine
years, and when I moved here I wasn't a top junior player in
I feel squash in England is one of the main reasons why I made
it to the top 10 and won two world juniors titles. I have
trained at Millfield School in Somerset under Jonah Barrington
and Ian Thomas for four or five years and then moved to Bristol,
where I have been working with Hadrian Stiff for a long time, so
I have always had English coaches and I feel without them I
wouldn't have been in this position.
5: Please tell us about life in Bristol: the studies, the
training and the social life?
To be honest I feel very lucky to live in a city like Bristol. I
feel we are all a family to each other whether itís with the
squash community or my friends from university.
I always feel at home whenever Iím in Bristol and I see myself
spending the rest of my life here.
I'm doing another Masters degree right now at the University of
the West of England, who have been giving me and my brother an
amazing support for the past four or five years.
As for the training, we have a great group of players living in
the city now. The atmosphere at the training here is amazing.
Life here is so relaxing compared to when I go to Egypt, where
everything is so tense and
everything is about squash, which always ends up making me feel
I think living in England in general has changed the way I think
about life and made me realise itís not all about squash all the
time, I feel more relaxed here living in the best city in the
6: I understand you are sharing accommodation with some
fellow squash players. How do you organise the rotas for
cooking, cleaning and washing all that squash kit?
Me and my brother both live on campus in the student village. We
donít own a property yet. We live with a group of squash players
with great potential, especially Josh Masters and James Peach. I
think they have a great future for squash in England. We also
live with another two squash players, Antonio de la Torre, who
is number two in Guatemala, and Hakon Standal, who is number
five in Norway.
I let my brother cook for me most of the time, as he has just
got into the cooking lately and somehow heís into it, which is
good for me as I don't have to buy food every day.
James is pretty good, I have to say, with cleaning the kitchen
and the living room. Most of the time, I beat Antonio on the
PlayStation in FIFA so he ends up washing my squash kit because
we bet for it before we play. That reminds me, he still owes me
two washes, which I will let him do before I go to London for
Canary Wharf. And as for Josh, I just enjoy killing him on the
I have known these guys for a long time and it's so much fun
living with them, apart from all of us getting in trouble every
week and having security around our flat because of the
complaints about the noise!
are playing with the new Harrow Silk. Please describe the main
attributes of the racket.
Harrow is a great company. They take very good care of their
players and they treat players like family, especially when you
are loyal to them.
I use the new Harrow Silk racket, which is a different shape to
what most players use. I like it very much because itís light
and makes you able to play at a fast pace. The game is getting a
lot faster now and the racket gives me power as well, which is
Itís only my second year with Harrow but Iím looking forward to
spending as much time as possible with them.
8: You must be hugely proud of your brother Mohamed
occupying the world number one spot. What would you identify as
the main qualities that have taken him to the top of the game?
I have said in question four that as a junior in Egypt you go
through a lot. My brother went through a lot as a junior and it
only made him stronger and stronger. I respect him a lot as I
know exactly what heís gone through in Egypt.
I respect the fact that heís gone through all that and now he's
dominating the sport. Iím so
proud of him achieving so much at such a young age and heís
still got a long time left in the sport, and itís exciting to
think how much more he can still achieve.
I have never seen someone as hungry as him before. He always
keeps working on his game and changing few bits, which makes a
lot of difference.
As Jonah always tells me, itís all about attention to very small
details. We are so proud of him in our family and we all hope
that he can keep the number one spot for as long as he can Ö
until I take it from him!
9: The World Team Championships were cancelled in Cairo at
the end of 2015, but I understand there are plans to stage the
menís World Championship in the city later this year, plus plans
to resurrect the spectacular tournament at the Pyramids.
How do you feel about the safety aspects of staging major events
A: I know that Cairo is safe and staging any tournament in Egypt
right now will be very safe. I think what happened with the
World Team Championships is that the timing of the event wasnít
good for most of us as players, and the fact that the WSF had
changed the location of the event a month before the event
starts wasn't good for federations too, especially having it in
the Middle East where things are not stable yet.
I spoke to a few players about what they think about the safety
and security in Egypt and I totally understand their decision of
pulling out from the event.
And, of course, with what happened in Paris too I think it was
the right decision to just postpone the event. But right now
things are more calm and having the World Championship in Cairo
later this year at the Wadi Degla club, under the guidance of
Karim Darwish, could be one of the best organised tournaments
10: What are your views on squashís absence from the
Squash is a tough sport, probably one of the toughest sports
right now. You need to be physically and mentally very strong to
compete at such a high level.
We definitely deserve a place in the Olympics but I think we
need to keep focusing on how to keep improving our sport. Squash
has improved a lot in the last few years, especially with
SquashTV and even with prize money, I think the sport is going
on the right direction.
Of course as a player I still think we deserve a lot more than
that but we have to give a lot of credit to the PSA as they keep
working hard to improve the TV and get deals done with a lot of
Prize money for men and women has improved, especially for the
women, refereeing is getting a lot better, and more new
tournaments in different countries and continents around the
world are on the calendar now, which makes our sport more
I think with the Olympics we
all know itís about politics, so as a sport we need to get to
the point that we are too good for the other sports and then IOC
will have no option other than choosing squash.
11: What are your targets for the remainder of 2016?
Itís been a good start for me in 2016. I feel my game has
improved and I keep working on my game on a daily basis.
I am looking forward to keep enjoying being on tour and playing
all over the world. I feel blessed with this life and I will
make sure I will make the most of it in 2016.
Marwan, thank you so much for a great interview and we
wish you good luck at Canary Wharf.
Marwan plays with the
Harrow Silk racket. Harrow are the official racket for the
Canary Wharf Classic, when the Silk will be on special offer.
Please visit the Harrow stand during the tournament.
For full details, please email: