Frenchman Gregory Gaultier says winning a third British Open crown would be like a dream come true as he prepares to travel to the Airco Arena, Hull on March 21 to kick-off the 2017 iteration of squash’s oldest and most established tournament.
The 34-year-old collected the coveted crown in 2007 and 2014 and, having gone undefeated in February winning both the Swedish Open and Windy City Open, he comes into this year’s tournament as the man to beat.
“Winning the British Open is very special,” said Gaultier.
“In my opinion the top three events are the World Championship, the British Open and the World Series Finals – winning one of those events is an amazing achievement and in 2007 when I won my first British Open, it was like a dream.
“I played Thierry (Lincou) in the final and I remember I had so many messages and emails after that match – it’s one of the oldest and most important titles out there.”
Gaultier faces a tough opening encounter against former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez of Colombia, with a path to final likely to see him up come against Cameron Pilley, James Willstrop or Marwan ElShorbagy and either Ramy Ashour or Karim Abdel Gawad prior to the showpiece finale.
But the charismatic ‘French General’ is undaunted by the challenge ahead.
“Even as a junior the British Junior Open was always the toughest event out there,” he said.
“There was so many players coming from all over the world to compete. It was so tough – and this year’s event is no different.
“But when I won in 2007 that was when I really started to improve as a player. I came through the rankings after that win and got better.
“I’ve won it twice, and lost a few finals as well. So to have the chance to win it again would be simply awesome.”
First Round Draw – 2017 Men’s Allam British Open
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Fares Dessouky (EGY)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v [Qualifier]
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Paul Coll (NZL) v [WC] Declan James (ENG)
Simon Rösner (GER) v [Qualifier]
Borja Golan (ESP) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Max Lee (HKG) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Diego Elias (PER) v [Qualifier]
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
The 2017 Allam British Open takes place at the Airco Arena, Hull from March 21-26. Tickets are available to purchase from £7.50 by visiting https://allambritishopensquash2017.com/