24 April 2012


This is a rare good resolution compilation from 2004 showcasing seven world number ones. If you have time, watch the whole video, every single rally is worth it. If you are in a hurry wind forward to 9:08, and you might see probably the shot of the century, but for sure a serious contender next to David Palmer's nonchalant magic shot from the 2011 TOC. 
Just like Palmer's drop, Jonathon Power's over-the-head-cross-court-backhand-volley-nick was played from behind the body, hence extremely difficult to control. I also thoroughly like Power's expression after receiving Peter Nicol's compliments (a 'conduct code' that I love in squash and another proof of  the mutual respect between these two greats). 
Not bad either the following rally, showcasing the famous Jonathon Power forehand top spin drop shot. The opponent, Nick Matthew was left almost in a shock there.
Another one to observe here should be Lee Beachill, a former world #1 we have not yet had the opportunity to present in the blog. What a shame though! Beachill has had a stellar rise  in his carrier; however, as quick as his ascension has been, as quick was his decline. Up and coming he finished 2003 as world #9, six months later in June 2004 he was already #2, another three months later #1. A year later he he dropped back to #5, and in 2006 to #10, and retired at the end of 2008. Compared to such squash mammoths as Palmer, Lincou and Nicol, it can be said that Beachill's carrier peak has had a modest span. 
Nevertheless it must be pointed out that he has reached the top in a period when a high number of established top world stars mingled with a bunch of up-and-coming future stars. As a matter of fact, in December 2004, when Beachill held for the last time the world #1 spot, all names in the top10 were either future or former world number ones, and none of them at a decline stage of their carriers. 
Technically Beachill has been one of the cleanest strikers ever in my eyes. Instead of simply hitting the ball he was kind of caressing it. As strange as it might sound, he didn't use his racket as a hammer, neither as a knife, but rather as a spoon. This is why all of his shots had a kind of double slice, making the ball always escape from his opponents and fade towards the side-wall. In addition he disposed of a stupendous deception (watch that fake head-turn at 2:32 against Amr Shabana) and he's never been shy to go for all kinds shot (attacking boasts, volley nicks).
Beachill was probably not the physical beast that some of his peer's have been, but you can tell that - beyond being naturally gifted - he must have been a diligent analyser, deconstructing and putting together the best of the different squash schools and styles. Exactly because he is not too physical,  basing his game more on skill and understanding - he is one to watch for us, club-players, who will never dispose of the power of a Palmer or a Lincou, or the speed of a Gaultier or a Nicol.

Unfortunately the video we were originally embedding has been withdrawn in the meantime by youtube due to a copyright claim. This is why we had to look for another version of Jonathon Powers's extraordinary shot, that can be seen from 0:55 onwards in the below video:

this is the original video that has been withdrawn unfortunately: