Victory for Laura Massaro and Gregory Gaultier at the PSA Dubai World Series Finals last month brought an end to what has been one of the most remarkable and memorable seasons ever in the history of professional squash – a nine-month spell that saw records broken, rivalries ignited, careers forged and history made.
Over the next few weeks we're looking back at the major moments that lit up the PSA World Tour during 2015/16, starting with the breakthrough performances, to the most outstanding performers and performances, shock moments, and rising stars that ensured the 2015/16 season – the first full season of combined governance since the PSA and WSA joined forces in a historic merger back on January 1st, 2015 – will go down in the sporting annals as one of the best ever.
In this season review, we’re turning the clocks back to November 2015 and having a look at a historic month.
With the 2015/16 season picking up momentum, November stood out as a historic month and saw the PSA Men’s World Championship head to the United States for the first time.
After the opening week of the month saw Laura Massaro and Mohamed ElShorbagy prevail at the Qatar Classic, the world’s leading male players descended on Bellevue for the sport’s biggest tournament – the World Championship – held at the Meydenbauer Center.
A sensational tournament saw former World No.1 James Willstrop display the sort of form that earned him the nickname ‘The Marksman’ as he defeated current World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in the third round in one of the most dramatic upsets in World Championship history.
Willstrop followed up his sublime win over the Egyptian with a fine victory over ‘Colombian Cannonball’ Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the next round, eventually falling to Gregory Gaultier in the last four.
Gaultier went up against the popular ‘Hammer of Thor’ Omar Mosaad in a high stakes final, with Gaultier looking to avenge four heartbreaking World Championship final defeats, while Mosaad was appearing just months after losing his mother and sister in a tragic car accident.
It was the Frenchman who came out on top after 58 minutes of enthralling action – cueing emotional scenes as the 33-year-old’s World Championship torment finally came to a triumphant end.
Elsewhere, former World No.2 Jenny Duncalf ended a five-year title drought after lifting silverware at the Monte Carlo Classic.
The Dutch-born 33-year-old had slipped out of the world’s top 20, but returned to form in style by downing fellow Englishwoman Sarah-Jane Perry in the final to capture her 10th Tour title.
Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad missed out on capturing his first PSA M35 title a month previously, but made amends with victory over compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar in the final of the Edmonton Open.
Meanwhile, Gawad’s countryman Mohamed Reda followed on from a superb October that saw him named PSA Men’s Player of the Month by triumphing on the Qatar Circuit I to continue his strong start to the season.
The President Gold Cup also took place in Islamabad, Pakistan as home hope Nasir Iqbal and Todd Harrity of the United States went head-to-head in the final, with the former winning in straight games to claim his 10th PSA World Tour crown.
New Zealand’s Paul Coll and England’s Millie Tomlinson also had months to remember after they won the top prizes at the London Open. Coll overcame local player Ben Coleman in an epic five-game final, while Tomlinson saw off up and coming talent Nele Gilis to lift her second PSA World Tour title of the year.
Massaro’s continued dominance of the Women’s game saw her crowned the PSA Women’s Player of the Month, while Gaultier’s historic World Championship triumph saw him pick up the Men’s award.
Full List of Winners
Men’s Mackay Open 2015 – Zac Alexander (AUS)
Women’s Mackay Open 2015 – Vanessa Chu (HKG)
Men’s Qatar Classic 2015 – Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Women’s Qatar Classic 2015 – Laura Massaro (ENG)
Cleveland Skating Club Open 2015 – Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY)
Life Time Fitness Minneapolis Open 2015 – Arturo Salazar (MEX)
Goodlife Open 2015 – Tom Ford (ENG)
Queensland Open 2015 – Zac Alexander (AUS)
President Gold Cup International Squash Tournament 2015 – Nasir Iqbal (PAK)
Qatar Circuit I 2015 – Mohamed Reda (EGY)
Monte Carlo Classic 2015 – Jenny Duncalf (ENG)
Men’s Malaysian Tour Squash VIII 2015 – Chi Him Wong (HKG)
Women’s Malaysian Tour Squash VIII 2015 – Sarah Cardwell (AUS)
RC Pro Series 2015 – Alan Clyne (SCO)
Open International Niort Venise Verte 2015 – Christophe Andre (FRA)
Madison Open 2015 – Angus Gillams (ENG)
Mbair UK Bexley Open 2015 – Joshua Masters (ENG)
PSA Men’s World Championship 2015 – Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Sutton Coldfield International 2015 – Jan van den Herrewegen (BEL)
Malaysian Tour Squash IX 2015 – Ivan Yuen (MAS)
Sunrise Foods Saskatoon International Movember Boast 2015 – Tom Ford (ENG)
Euro Styl Open 2015 – Piedro Schweertman (NED)
ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open 2015 – Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Malaysian Tour Squash X 2015 – Addeen Idrakie (MAS)
London Open 2015 – Paul Coll (NZL)