10 January 2013


I guess most of you have already seen the highlights of the PSA World Series Finals, Amr Shabana's steam roller win over Nick Matthew. The reason why I am getting back to this clip is the shot at 4:01. 
I have never seen a solution like this. Of course, the-cross-court-to-the-body, is a shot that both Matthew and Shabana play with predilection (in fact, they are probably the two best to employ it, as this earlier example also shows it), but it's always played from the front when they are late on the ball and squeezed in a corner from where a straight passing shot would result in a stroke and a wide cross court shot would probably be chased down by the opponent; but this version played from around the 'T' is new to me. I can't decide whether Shabana hit this one on purpose or not, but he for sure he reacted very fast to clear Matthew's path, who on his turn could not avoid to be hit by the ball. So even if the shot was not intentional, it was very quick thinking and reacting by Shabana to make sure that Matthew can not argue that he couldn't get out of the way of the ball because of his opponent's obstruction.
By the way, just out of curiosity, did you know that Shabana and Matthew could meet again as early as in the second round (last 16) at the 2013 Tournaments of Champion in Grand Central Station in New York? If the black-purple court of the Queens Club in London is the best court in the world, then the Vanderbilt Hall of the Grand Central Terminal is probably the most beautiful and also the most exciting site for a squash tournament. The mystical darkness and the relative smallness of the Queens Club produces a hermeneutic, almost sacred ambiance, whereas the sumptuous Art Nouveau architecture and the huge amount of noise and light of the main New York train terminal create a much more dizzy, distracting context to play in. 
Will the warrior, Nick Matthew get his revenge or will the squash god that Amr Shabana is maintain his almost transcendental winning mood under the totally opposite conditions? And if he will, will it be also enough against the best current player is in the world, Ramy Ashour? What a final that would be.