31 August 2011


After a long break on the tour, the squash elite came back on scene in August in Camberra/Australia. As so often in the last 24 months, it was Nick Matthew and Ramy Ashour to decide about the title. It's been a thrilling 5 gamer, with Ramy coming out fresher and more concentrated in the fifth. Absolutely no doubt, the below rally is good material both for our 'greatest rallies ever' and squash-analytics section. First thing that hits the eye is the speed and quality of some of the retrievings that are out of this cosmos, with probably the most surrealistic one at 0:48 by Ramy after a perfect nasty trickle-boast by Nick, and then the next one at 0:52, again by Ramy after a really good over-head volley-drop by Nick. Second thing to note is the way Ramy plays the cross-court: he turns the bust towards the side-wall and lets the ball slip almost behind himself to fake a straight drive, and indeed Nick is pretty much each time on the wrong foot (most noticeably at  0:22 and 1:04). Last thing I would like to note, even if it might seam a heresy in the middle of a celebration: I think at the last winning volley-drop (at 1:07) Ramy was considerably blocking Nick's path to the ball. The least to say is that the drop was far from being lethal and he cleared the ball in the wrong way. I know Nick was not asking for a 'let' (nor the commentators, Lee Beachill and Paul Johnson were contesting anything), but in my eyes this is only due to Matthew not wanting to spoil such a great rally with a 'let' outcome; I know my theory might sound naive, but I feel Matthew's general attitude (highly professional, conscious and also intellectual) enables him to look at the 'big picture' and sacrifice a point in order to raise the profile of his sport.