20 July 2010


Well, John White just had that deep predilection for the dives (click on his name in the 'featured players' tab to see the most famous one against Peter Nicol if you haven't seen it yet). I am not sure there was anybody else in the history of squash spending more time on the floor than White.On the top of that, the man is really tall (6'3"), so to stand up each time is not the same physical effort as for example for an Aamir Atlas Khan who is 5'8". In the below rally the floor-choreography receives a new element, due to the contribution of a then very young up-and-coming actor, Ramy Ashour, who produces, at 1:16 that nice Ninja-jump above the head of great John White. And this is the point, this is what makes squash such a great sport (even if people don't realize it): it can be played on top levels in such spectacular fashion; it is of course above all a racket-sport, but it is dance, it is geometry, it is Capoeira too.

19 July 2010


There are by now around thirty posts in this squash video blog, and this is only the first to feature Mohd Azlan Iskandar. Shame on me, but it also shows in what an undeveloped stage video sharing still is, there is not that much to be found about him. Anyway, Iskandar is a great player with a very particular style, beautiful to watch. He is soft and strong, gentle and dynamic at the same time. He has an amazing wrist which allows him those out of the world flicks as the one which made him win the below rally, but at the same time he is also one of the most classy players on the current tour with that long, old-fashioned follow-through on the after-swing of his drives (reminiscent of the heavy, wooden racket-times) as it can be seen for example at 0:15. Another particular thing is his backhand from the back after the re-bounce from the back-wall: it's not the typical static 'two-legged' type, he is going very deep with the legs and lounges with the right leg extremely forward - more than anybody else on the tour. That he's stuck in the top20 is a real shame for him. There are not many players outside the top10 who have beaten Amr Shabana, Ramy Ashour, Nick Matthew, David Palmer, Thierry Lincou and Lee Beachill at least one time each. But then again, he can lose to anybody. Azlan, if you listen, could you please take a bit seriously the next 12 months? I am afraid it's your last chance considering the age factor. Congrats for having just won the Malaysian National title, but back it up please, it's just not worth to retire with the label "former world #11", and mainly not with your talent. May the force be with you.

15 July 2010


Apparently, Alister Walker just suits to perfection Ramy Ashour's creativity. As in the first sample we had between them a couple of weeks ago, Ramy just reads Walker as a billboard. The most astonishing is his reach on the volleys. I remember Peter Nicol commenting on a John White game and talking about his 'telescopic arm'. That arm in today's field is clearly inherited by Ramy Ashour. And only then comes Nick Matthew in this respect. Third place might go to James Willstrop. So long for today's arbitrary ranking game.

13 July 2010


Two great drops, the first one by Nick Matthew at 0:23, from the very back of the court. Look how deep he is going down to have his eye sight almost at the same level as the ball. One of the most difficult shots to execute properly technically speaking, and one that really distinguishes professionals - who use it all the time - from club players - who barely play it. In general, the other guy on the court, James Willstrop uses this shot more often than Matthew. To get a chance to play this shot well, you'll have to go down with the knees and hide the ball by bending the upper body as it can be seen from that great camera angle at 0:23. To make sure your're oppenent doesn't guess or read your intention (and to make sure that he stays behind the 'T' awaiting a drive), you'll need to make in general similar preparations even at your normal drives after the rebounce from the backwall. The second drop in this rally is a volley-drop winner form Willstrop at the end of the rally - a shot that even though looks subtle, is very physical as it needs very strong legs and hips to be controlled as it is in this case.

09 July 2010


 Last time we had this shot, it was David Palmer playing it with delay and deception. This time no deception, just a little delay to play the volley-drop from low, so that its bounce on the floor will remain low as well. The deception came one shot earlier, have a second look at that beautiful cross-court flick at 0:29.