WILLSTROP’S WHARF WAR CRY
THE BIG CANARY WHARF INTERVIEW
WORLD NUMBER ONE JAMES WILLSTROP TALKS TO ALAN THATCHER
World number one James Willstrop is “rested and rebooted”
after rocking Ramy Ashour in Richmond and is ready to battle for
his fourth Canary Wharf Classic title.
Willstrop’s trip to Virginia resulted in a stunning victory over
Ashour in the final of the Davenport North American Open.
is seeded to meet his great rival Nick Matthew in the
final at Canary Wharf but he insists he is taking things one
match at a time.
He said: “It’s good to have a three-week break between
tournaments. You can rest the body a little bit. It’s mentally
tough when you play a lot of squash so it’s ideal to have two
tournaments back to back and then have a good break in between.
“You can re-set and reboot the body.
“Canary Wharf is a great event and I am looking forward to it. I
always enjoy it and it is one of those tournaments you always
look forward to because you now you are going to be well looked
after. When that happens you usually play better, too.
“It feels great to be back at number one in the March rankings.
It’s great to be there and I’m very pleased to be holding that
“I’m feeling comfortable with being in that position and I’m
trying to enjoy it. I know other players have suffered some kind
of stress but it’s difficult to talk about other people. I just
look at the ranking list and feel a wonderful sense of
great to be on top of the world and it’s a reward for the work
you have put in and the time you have taken to get there.
“From my perspective there are no negatives associated with it.
“I simply want to play my next match as world number one and not
“Some players may have not have felt that way but I don’t know
that feeling. As I say, it’s a very positive thing.”
Despite losing 15 times in a row to England team-mate and fellow
Yorkshireman Matthew, Willstrop says he is enjoying the
competition and feels that their occasionally tempestuous
rivalry is good for the game.
He added: “People like to talk about it but in all honesty all I
think about is beating the best players. It really is a tough
tour and I have a very difficult first round match against my
training partner (Saurav Ghosal).
can never look beyond that. You can’t go into tournaments
thinking about finals. You can only focus on your next match.
“The last two matches we have played, in the final of the
Tournament of Champions in new York, and in the final of the
National Championships in Manchester, have been two tremendous
battles between two Englishmen and two Yorkshiremen.
“I suppose a lot of people find that rivalry is big news, and if
we do meet in the final at Canary Wharf then it will be
“It is a great thing to be involved in and to have such a
brilliant rivalry. If it helps to generate publicity for the
sport then it’s good for the game.
“I look around and it’s good way to spend your life, but you can
never escape the fact that you have to concentrate on doing your
“The gaps in standard between the guys in the top 10, 20, 30 and
40 are very small. They are very fine lines and you have to be
focused the whole time.”