26 October 2010


I am not going to praise Karim Darwish again as after a certain point it's going to be contra-productive and you guys as a result will be tired of him ... But this time it's not me, it's the commentators (Nick Matthew, or Joey Barrington by saying for example this nice sentence: "you can hear the strings singing..." ) And yes, there are some astonishing gets and stretches for sure, the thousand times mentioned forehand drop at 0:17, and the final shot, that backhand that has hardly any swing or backswing and which, therefore, is so tough to read, that's all marks of an exceptionally strong player... But this time I would also like to point out the great qualities of David Palmer: I have already paid tribute to his dives in an older post, and I know there are coaches who discourage players from diving, saying that if you dive it means that you were late, therefore in a wrong position beforehand. But let's don't be too academic, in real life, I mean in real squash matches, with a similarly strong opponent, you happen to be in the wrong place an awful lots of times, and yes, one of the least convenient but ultimate solution must be, like or not, the dive. It's not lack of discipline - would you dare to say that to great divers such as John White, David Palmer or Amr Shabana, just to mention a few? It's rather demonstration of commitment. Of course, there might be one alternative: being extremely quick and having an amazing stretch. That was for example the case of Peter Nicol, or, for instance, of Karim Darwish, but taller players like John White, David Palmer or Ramy Ashour will just produce that dive time to time. The great thing about Palmer is that he also has a very strong and equilibrated stretch, otherwise he couldn't volley as well as he does or play as good defensive shots on the back-foot from behind his body as it can be seen at 0:09, 0:14, 0:16 and 0:37. A pretty complete package topped with that famous iron mentality, that so tough to beat will and concentration. Except maybe Shabana and Ashour, I don't think anybody has ever been happy to have Palmer in his draw.