30 April 2011


As John White hits a couple of loose balls here and there (as a result of over-pacing the ball), I was rather concentrating on David Palmer, who keeps it as steady and disciplined as ever... And then, out of nowhere, from a slightly overhit lob that rebounced directly from the backwall, there you are, that incredible backhand kill from around the service box. The racket-head speed is phenomenal, and interestingly, in opposition to some coaching thesis that teach to hit the ball as far away as possible from your body, White, at the point of touching the ball kept his elbow pretty near to his hip. Based on my observations of the very best players, I always accentuate that if you keep your swing tight there will be more deception too your shots. And indeed, Palmer realized where the ball went more or less at the second dead bounce of the ball.


27 April 2011


Not to be copied, that's what we've said about great John White a few posts ago. This time even though I would love to encourage anybody (myself first) to copy what he does - he is basically walking instead of running out there - but am afraid very few people can achieve this exceptional level of anticipation, a mixture of deep rooted knowledge of squash and extra fast perception. And White is not doing it against an average talented club player in an exhibition match, but against another pro, the ever solid top20-top30 player Jonathon Kemp (a mystery why never have been ranked higher). After this rally White was leading 1:0 in games and 7:4 in the second. Based on the cat and mouse type of difference that this rally is demonstrating, I guess you will be surprised to hear that Kemp, after being 2:0 down in games, came back to two-all, and finally lost only 11:7 in the fifth. But this is how squash is: just always slightly more complicated and more unpredictable than one could guess.

26 April 2011


Okay, you surely remember the famous rally that followed this one in the quarter finals of the 2008 Tournament of Champions; it was probably one of the greatest rallies ever, John White being 2:1 and 10:9 match ball down against Gregory Gaultier. White looked so 'winded' (as David Palmer said it in the commentary box) and had so much to recover before saving his life with a cross kill hit from out of balance. So here we have the previous rally, Gregory Gaultier with his first match ball, and if you have a look at this one, your amazement and appreciation of the big man will surely only grow. Saving a match ball with a crazy rally might happen, but with two crazy and high quality rallies in a row is really rare. In opposition to that other famous rally, White was most of the time dominating/attacking here (I feel like Gaultier was even provoking White with deliberately not hitting good lengths at 0:25, 0:29 and 0:31) but White was patient enough and came out with the magic shot, the cross volley-kill into the nick, at the very best of times.