YOUNG EGYPTIANS CHALLENGE
TOP ENGLISH STARS
By ALAN THATCHER
THE Canary Wharf Classic is heading for another sell-out as
squash fans clamour for tickets to see the world’s leading
players compete in London’s premier squash tournament.
PSA International 50 event takes place from March 19-23 with
world champion Nick Matthew seeded to meet English rival
James Willstrop in the final. That outcome would be a repeat
of yesterday’s National Championship final in Manchester, where
Matthew retained his title and continued his long unbeaten run
against Yorkshire rival Willstrop.
Four Egyptian players add a strong international flavour to the
Canary Wharf draw as the sport’s top two nations prepare to
clash on court.
Matthew will be returning to London to bid for a third
consecutive title at the East Wintergarden after winning the
last two finals against French ace Gregory Gaultier in 2010 and
England team-mate Peter Barker last year.
Tickets for the semi-finals day have already sold out and
tournament joint promoter Peter Nicol, the former world
champion, said: “The main focus in professional squash is on the
astonishing competition between the two Englishmen at the top of
the world rankings.
“James won three tournaments back to back at the end of 2011 to
reach the world number one position for the first time in his
career, but Nick beat him in the final of the Tournament of
Champions in New York to return to the top in the February
“They are seeded to meet again the Canary Wharf final with Nick
seeking a hat-trick of titles. That shows how consistent he has
been during that period and to win two World Open titles back to
back is a phenomenal achievement.
“We are delighted that English players are at the top of the
draw, including the experienced trio of Barker, Daryl Selby
and Adrian Grant, but with four outstanding young
Egyptians in the tournament we are in for some fireworks.”
World number eight Mohamed El Shorbagy and his younger
brother Marwan, both world junior champions, lead the
Egyptian entourage, with Tarek Momen and Ali Anwar
Reda making up a striking quartet.
Momen achieved a surprise victory over Matthew in Qatar in
October before the Sheffield-based world champion took a break
from the game to have treatment on a torn hamstring that was
severely affecting his movement on court.
Nicol added: “We are witnessing an amazing era in squash as a
wave of young Egyptians power their way up the rankings to
challenge the existing order. Nick and James have enjoyed long
spells of consistency and have enormous experience of major
tournaments and big occasions, but there is no denying that the
Egyptians pose a real threat at Canary Wharf.”
Adding more international flavour, the Canary Wharf Classic has
attracted German number one Simon Rosner (the world
No.20) and top Indian player Saurav Ghosal (world No.27).
Surrey’s Joe Lee has been awarded the wild card and is
delighted to be chosen again after missing last year’s
tournament through injury.
He said: “It is a real honour to be selected again and I am
looking forward to playing on the glass court at such a
wonderful venue in one of the best tournaments on the world
Tickets for the 2012 Canary Wharf Classic cost from £15 and are
selling out fast ... BUY
The Best View
The fabulous East Wintergarden offers superb
opportunities for corporate hospitality, with the gallery
restaurant offering “the best view of squash anywhere in the
world” according to Peter Nicol.