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Mostafa Asal

Asal Enjoys Comparisons To Tennis' Nick Kyrgios

By RJ Mitchell

Mostafa Asal has admitted that Australian tennis maverick Nick Kyrgios’ run to the final of the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s singles has continued to generate comparisons with his own crowd-pleasing showmanship.

Squash’s great showman is a fan of the shoot-from-the-lip Aussie and has revealed that he even switched-on highlights of Kyrgios’ fractious five set-victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas when a trip to the cinema proved the perfect answer to insomnia at the weekend.

The similarities between Asal, without doubt the most talked about squash-player in the sport right now and one who at times, just like Aussie bad boy Kyrgios, courts the good, the bad and sometimes even the ugly when treading the boards in front of the Pyramids in his home country of Egypt or at iconic venues like New York’s Grand Central Terminal, just as Kyrgios has once again on the hallowed lawns of SW19 this summer, are there for all to see.

Yet Asal points to the fact that as an elite athlete, his mission is almost as important to entertain as to add to his increasingly burgeoning trophy haul, which this season has seen him claim the U.S. Open, the El Gouna International and the CIB PSA World Tour Finals.

While the World No.3 points to the fact that Kyrgios is almost as well known for his theatrics as tennis’ greats Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are for their serial haul of Grand Slam trophies as proof that the parameters of success are far from black and white.

“I feel like for any player in any sport if people are not talking about him then he is not a success and maybe that is the same for Nick, so I love the talking in squash, with negative or with positive, I don’t care and I think Nick is similar,” Asal said.

“At the end of the day I want to entertain my fans and also to entertain myself and my family and it is grabbing so much coverage for the sport.

“But it is true some people say to me: ‘Mostafa you are similar to Nick Kyrgios and how he is playing and how he is on court.’ I get lots of comments like that but at the end of the day you are entertaining yourself by letting the people talk about you or the media talk and that is also good for me and most important of all good for squash.

“Last season all the people were talking about me and it was fun, I know that every single thing I do on the court or off it will be viral and everyone will talk about it and that is a really good feeling and it gives me great confidence.

“It is funny I was at the cinema earlier this week and watching a movie with a friend and it was so boring so I opened the highlights of Wimbledon and with Nick Kyrgios playing Tsitsipas and my friend was like: ‘What are you doing bro? Have respect for us!’

“But Nick was really entertaining and what was going on between them was engaging, he has so much confidence in himself, so much charisma, maybe he is not in top 10 or top 5 but everyone knows who he is, he markets himself very well.

“If you know Djokovic, if you know Nadal well, you will definitely know Nick Kyrgios. So, he is grabbing the sport and making the headlines and the match between him and Tsitsipas was unbelievable but Nick plays some superb tennis and when you are watching him you just never know what will happen.

“When I watched it I could see how people would be entertained, there was a fight between them but there was a net in the middle separating them. Unbelievable!”

That is not where the parallels with tennis end for Asal, himself a big fan of the sport and the charismatic US Open champion shares the same racket manufacturer as tennis women’s World No.1 Iga Świątek and men’s No.1 Daniil Medvedev whom he is looking forward to hooking up with.

“I love tennis actually, and as you know I use Tecnifibre rackets and we have the women’s tennis World No.1 Iga Świątek and of course Daniil Medvedev. I am new to the Tecnifibre team and we are having a launch of the new rackets and the whole group of tennis and squash will meet together and it will be so much fun to meet with these guys.”

Turning his attention to a season just gone, which despite his collection of three of the PSA World Tour’s most prestigious titles, saw the exciting young Egyptian come up just short in his bid to become world champion, Asal admitted it had been another huge learning curve.

Asal with the CIB PSA World Tour Finals trophy

“Myself and my team were focusing on trying to win two from three of the worlds, El Gouna International and the CIB World Tour Finals, although every tournament I now enter I feel like: ‘Why not win this one?’ but if you want to be World No.1 you have to have that attitude.

“But now I have beaten all of these guys, I have beaten Paul [Coll], beaten Ali [Farag], beaten Mohamed [ElShorbagy], so I have beaten these top guys but it needs consistency, it needs a strong mentality.

“I have worked so much this season and lots of things happened like the ban and if anyone else apart from me was having these problems then I think it would have been tough for him.

“So to be where I am at the end of the season is good but my semi-final with Ali at the World Championship it meant everything and I was so sad about losing 3-2, 11-9 in the fifth and knowing I can’t get my hands on the trophy, so it was tough.

“But El Gouna was the same draw as the world champs so I went for it and it gave me a lot of confidence and then we had the World Tour Finals and it is one of my favourite tournaments and near to my home and it meant a lot to defend that title and keep it for another year.”

After enjoying a two -week break, Asal is already eyeing a return to the rigours of pre-season training with one clear objective in mind when it comes to season 2022/23:

“I have had two weeks of resting and didn’t hit a squash ball or watch a squash match since I hit the last nick shot with Paul. I just wanted to get away from squash and not even allow my friends to talk about it,” he explained.

“I needed the rest not only for my body but mentally and to be able to push more and give the squash more and more for next time but finishing World No.3 is something I am so grateful for and I am super proud of myself but always I say I will not be happy until me and my team we are at No.1.

“Winning El Gouna, the World Tour Finals and the US Open that made me believe I can be No.1 next season and win the World Championships and I want to achieve one of these at least, to achieve both would be perfect.”

A statement of intent if ever there was one.

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