Gaultier Excited to Return to Scene of World Championship Victory in Bellevue
In-form World No.2 Gregory Gaultier will return to the scene of his greatest ever triumph when he tops the Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic draw between May 16-20 – 18 months after he captured the PSA Men’s World Championship title for the first time in his glittering career.
Gaultier, the 34-year-old from Epinal, has dominated the Men’s Tour in 2017 and is in the midst of a 23-match unbeaten run which has seen him take the honours at the Swedish Open, Windy City Open, British Open, El Gouna International and Grasshopper Cup.
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But it was his World Championship triumph over Egypt’s Omar Mosaad in Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center back in November 2015 that saw him etch his name into the history books as he finally lifted the sport’s most prestigious title after four heartbreaking final defeats.
“When I won, I felt like my biggest achievement has finally been done after all of these years trying,” Gaultier recalled.
“It felt like a heavy bag of pressure that I was carrying was finally dropped. There were a lot of emotions of course and I wanted to share it with my friends, family and team that helped me for all these years.
“I was over the moon for many weeks and couldn’t sleep for almost a week after. Of course it will forever be my favourite memory.”
Staged at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House in Bellevue, Washington, the Bellevue Classic will feature a record amount of prize money on offer to a 16-man draw, with Gaultier joined by the likes of three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour, former World No.1 James Willstrop and World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy, who will all compete for a share of the lucrative $150,000 prize fund.
The Frenchman became the oldest World No.1 of all time in the April PSA Men’s World Rankings and, despite losing top spot to Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad earlier this month, could overtake Gawad in June if he performs well in Bellevue – and he is eagerly anticipating a return to the United States.
“I always like playing in the USA, the crowd are mostly loud,” said Gaultier, who plays a qualifier in round one.
“I have been so many times now that I know lot of people and it’s always a pleasure to play there. I have been to Bellevue five times already and have a lot of close friends there that I’m always happy to see again.
“Money is of course a motivation factor, but there are other motivation keys like lifting more trophies. I’m feeling good at the moment and of course will be looking to do well and trying to win in Bellevue.”
Qualification for the Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic, PSA M100 tournament will be held between May 14-15 at the PRO Sports Club – which also staged the qualifying rounds for the 2015 World Championship – while the main draw will take place between May 16-20.
Tickets for the tournament start from $80 and can be purchased here.