19 July 2011


This one is one of my favourite one-sided matches ever. Ramy Ashour in general is probably the best thing that could ever happen to squash, but this semi-final match against James Willstrop at the 2011 TOC in New York Grand Central Station was probably his most outrageous masterpiece he has ever created (If you have a subscription with PSA Squash TV then you can watch it in the 'Replay' section). Beating the world #4 in about 30 minutes tells in itself the story. And don't think James was injured or played badly. Not at all. It's just that Ramy was more on fire than ever before, probably because he just had behind him a long and frustrating injury and recovery time and even against David Palmer in the previous round (with the shot of the century!) he seemed to be careful and hesitating at the start. Ramy probably felt euphoric not feeling any pain or fear for the first time after long. What ever the reason was, here we have the last three rallies. I just find it so intriguing when all four corners of the court are being used, when all kinds of pace (slow-fast) and trajectories (high-low) are employed in an embarrassing variety and when players are not afraid to go for the geometrically most risky solution: sending the ball into the nick. Add to this an exceptionally high level of sportsmanship (keeping playing when others might stop is search for a 'Stroke'), the direct and honest expression of admiration by the opponent (the mutual clapping after the first and second rally) and the warm friendly hug at the end. You just can't pretend to ask more than that form the phenomenon called squash, can you?