Despite being one of the youngest players on the PSA World Tour, 16-year-old Egyptian Nada Abbas – one of the only players currently on Tour born in the 21st century – has already captured the attention of her peers after taking huge strides during the first few months of her fledging career.
Ranked 67th in the world after less than two years on Tour, the Giza-based player collected her first professional title this April, beating Birgit Coufal in the Harrow Lion Squash Cup in a moment she will never forget – which came less than a week after losing out in her first ever final at the Paderborn Open.
“Winning my first PSA title was an amazing feeling,” she said.
“Losing in the final of Paderborn open was my first final on the PSA World Tour so it gave me self confidence and positive energy that makes me wants to train and push myself harder.”
Given Egypt is now seemingly the hotbed of squash, with the likes of Mohamed ElShorbagy, Ramy Ashour, Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily dominating the sport, Abbas takes great pride in competing alongside her compatriots, and one day hopes to emulate their success but is all too aware that she faces a difficult journey while juggling life as a professional squash player with her education.
But, a promising gymnast in her earlier childhood before injury ended her athletic career prematurely, Abbas has already shown the spirit and attitude needed to make it at the top – attributes that will be vital if she is to fulfil her potential on the squash court.
“It is always nice to have someone to look up to and hopefully challenge one day – I am proud of the Egyptian boys and girls and I feel motivated to reach their level as soon as possible.
“I am trying hard to make balance between both squash and education. In the early stages of my life I started gymnastics and after a few years I excelled and was so attached to it – it played a huge role in my life.
“Unfortunately due to me pressuring and exhausting myself before a huge competition I fell and broke both of my hands and this was the frustrating devastating end of my gymnastics and I had no choice but to play another sport.
“My brother introduced me to squash and I started going with him to training, and for the first time after the end of my gymnastics career I felt that there was hope and new doors were opening.
“I had a chance to make a change in my life and get back on track. I started going to training everyday and I have worked harder than I have ever worked before.”
Even though Abbas is at the beginning of her career, she still has ambitious goals for the future, and her aim this year is to break to top 40 in the world.
After a meteoric 106-place World Ranking rise compared to this time last year, her sterling progress looks set to continue apace as a place amongst the world’s elite beckons.