R1 : Men’s Evening Openers

Wins for Ramit Tandon, Mathieu Castagnet, Baptiste Masotti and Abdulla al Tamimi to get the men’s evening session started

Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 3-1 Dimitri Steinmann (Sui)    8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 (60m)
Baptiste Masotti (Fra) 3-0 [wc] Ibrahim Elkabbani (Egy)    11-8, 11-3, 11-6 (30m)
Ramit Tandon (Ind) 3-0 Borja Golan (Esp)    11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (41m)
Abdulla Al Tamimi (Qat) 3-0 Martin Svec (Cze) 14-12, 11-2, 11-5 (29m)

Adbullah : Nowadays, you realise there are no easy matches. The belief I have in myself, the training hard, the trying to push up the rankings even the top players, the belief I can beat anyone, I’m sure every single player has the same mentality these days because you see a lot of upsets.

We actually didn’t play since the U15 final Austrian Open, and he took me to 5! It’s been a long time since we last played, I must have been one metre tall!

I knew he was going to be really tough in the first game, that I had to make sure I’d win this somehow! Because he was hitting everything, going for the attack, volleying in front of of the T, so he surprised me a little bit, but I managed to win at the end of the game, although I was 10/8 down.

Then I knew I got him after that. I had a good lead in the second and third, and it was pretty comfortable after that.

I’m playing either Sherbini or Faraz Khan, so I hope they’ll have a very long match…

Ramit : Borja is such a legend of the game. It’s the third time I was playing with him, we were one all before this. He is such a warrior, every time you step on court with him, his fighting spirit is really something we can learn from.
Irrespective of the fact that as an athlete there are days where you are playing really well, and other days you are not playing as well, certain aspects of the game you cannot control, but the attitude and the fighting spirit is something that we can all control and is a perfect role model of that.

Whether he’s got bad days or good days, like all of us but that fighting spirit is always constant and something I wish I could borrow!

I’ve been working with my fitness coach, Anwar Wahhab. He is trying to remodel the fitness to incorporate the mental aspect as well, a bit like the balance between the mind and the body.

The lockdown helped me actually, the squash clubs were shut, so I set up a little gym at home, and the more time you put into things… you know that I went to College, I had a little bit of a break, and I cherish now because I know what it is to be at a desk. I know how blessed we are to be able to express ourselves on the court. And I want to do well to be able to keep doing it!

The more time I spend of on it, the physical side is getting better. After leaving my desk job, for the first two years, I had a lot of injuries because my body hadn’t gone to the training. At least, those injuries have now calmed down. Still some improvements to do in that aspect, but I’m improving.

I am playing the winner of Lucas and Sebastien, so I hope they’ll have a very long match and I’m very excited to play tomorrow.

Baptiste : The pool coming from Egypt has such a depth… you might not know the player, he might not have a lot of results, but when they are in Egypt, the Egyptians just play well, and that’s a fact.

Maybe at the start, he was a bit overwhelmed and I was not too sharp myself, like a bit of a hypoglycaemic feel. I just told myself, you’ve got the experience to win this.

And I guess that’s what changed, I have the belief in my experience, and I can recognise the crucial points like in the third, we were 6/6 and I knew how important it was to take the next two points. Because you really don’t want to get yourself embarked in a 4th game, you never know with those guys where it could lead.

I’ve got good length, I’m comfortable with my racquet skills, I’m pretty relaxed, I don’t think I played that badly, just happy to get to play yet another match against Shorbagy!

We had a joke about it at the end of the British, when I told him I hoped not to play him again for the rest of the season but of course, the following tournament, who do I play? So when we saw each other this morning, we had to laugh about it!

I like Mohamed a lot and I respect him, he’s just one of the good guys. Although I can’t say I’m over the moon getting to play him, yet again, I feel it’s an experience I need from my own experience, both from a personal and professional point of view.

When I play against him, it’s a great chance I feel. But it doesn’t mean in any way that I’m not going there to win the match. When I get on court with him, I want to win, and although he’s got a good head to head record against me, I’m pretty confident, we sort of start to know each other pretty well! It’s going to be a big match for sure, and I want to win, because I really want to play in front of the Pyramids.