30 January 2011


This one is just a great classy rally with the two players who have maybe the most impressive physical commitment towards the game next to Nick Matthew. Thierry Lincou has got maybe the most majestic body language on the PSA tour whereas James Willstrop has got probably the quickest racket-preparation on the backhand side coupled with one of the best reaches on the volley. This match was played early 2009, I was lucky enough to witness it live, and after just having seen these two again a few weeks ago at the Queens Club, it's pretty evident that Thierry Lincou has lost some speed compared to two years ago - nevertheless, his composure is still royal, and a part the top3 he still sticks more than decently with anybody on the tour.Concerning James, he is remarkably strong but struggles to beat Ramy and Nick and I think he will continue to do so as long as he doesn't integrate into his repertoire the volley kill into the nick - a shot that the top three Egyptians - and in the last 12 months also Nick Matthew - use at every loose serve or in other similar situations where the ball comes at shoulder heights around the service box; Willstrop hardly plays this shot, he did one against Ramy in the semis of the Tournament of Champions in New York a few days ago and he was so happy about it - so let's hope that will give him some confidence and he'll integrate this kind of a drill into his training regime, so that he can employ it more often and naturally in match situations.