26 September 2013


As far as it seams Hisham Ashour retired from the PSA (he played only four matches this year, only won one of them - the one in the clip against Saurav Ghosal - and he's not in the draw of any upcoming event). 
A shame. What to say, he is a legend in his own way, one of the greatest, if not the greatest shotmaker of all times and older brother/coach of one of the greatest, if not greatest player of all times, Ramy Ashour.
Notwithstanding his incredible shotmaking capabilities, I could never refrain from feeling something strange, something funny about Hisham. He obviously resembles his brother Ramy, but in some way he is also the total opposite of him. Regarding shotmaking, understanding of the court and interception they are similarly amazing; however regarding speed, agility and mental toughness, there are worlds between them. 
Hisham is obviously someone who loves life, not only squash. Not that Ramy isn't a really nice guy outside the court, but Hisham would definitely not sacrifice any type of fine dinner that you would invite him to. No disrespect to this genius, but at times he turned up as chubby on the court that I couldn't believe my eyes and started to adjust my screen's width ratio. I really thought it must have been the uncle of one the players who helped out warming up the ball.
However, I remember very well when he made his last attempt to take squash slightly more seriously (from a physical point of view). It was at the end of 2010 after a visibly serious diet, he came back slim and agile (for his standards) in order to ultimately achieve the minimum carrier-goal, being a top10 player (he used to mention top5...) And indeed he amassed victories over such ultra-steady players as Thierry Lincou and David Palmer (who were both still top8 those times).
Unfortunately it wasn't to be, he peaked at #11, and in 2012 his results - notwithstanding cashing in a long awaited first carrier win over Amr Shabana - got weaker and his ranking got lower in straight proportion with his body weight getting again higher.
Anyway, #10 or #11, or #16 is just a number, and regardless of his rankings Hisham Ashour will always be remembered, if not as the best, but definitely the funniest player of all time in the history of squash.
A good friend of mine, who represented Kenya at a junior World Championships event reported to me that the then youngster Hisham told him that he should watch out, as himself and his brother will soon rule the squash world. He was definitely not far away from the truth, as one of them became indeed the best, and the other one the most entertaining player out there.
By the way, I wish I was wrong, and there will be soon another diet...