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G.O.A.T #15: F.D. Amr Bey & Silvia Huntsman

Over the last month, we have given squash fans the chance to decide the greatest players in squash history as we looked over the achievements and legacies of some of the most recognisable names ever to take to a squash court.

The votes are now in and we will be announcing the results in descending order to when we reveal the official men’s and women’s GOAT.

20th PlaceDon Butcher & Sheila Macintosh
19th PlaceRoshan Khan & Sue Cogswell
18th PlaceAzam Khan & Anna Craven-Smith
17th PlaceAbdelfattah AbouTaleb & Sue King
16th PlaceAhmed Barada & Joyce Cave

In 15th place…

F.D. Amr Bey
Nationality: Egyptian
British Open Title Wins: 6
British Open Final Defeats: 0

A six-time British Open Champion and six-time British Amateur Championship winner, Abdelfattah Amr – better known as F.D. Amr Bey – was the firstly truly dominant squash player in history and a man credited for creating the foundations upon which Egypt’s current domination of squash has been built upon.

Born in 1909, Bey moved to England in 1928 as an Egyptian diplomat and would later serve as Egypt’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom between 1945-1952.

Prior to moving to England, Bey had never before played the game of squash and was instead a regular polo and tennis player – even representing Egypt in the Davis Cup tennis tournament. But he was introduced to squash at the Queens Club shortly after moving and quickly established himself as the world’s finest player – comprehensively beating Don Butcher in the 1932 British Open final to become the first non-English winner of the event.

At the time of his emergence, the British Open men’s title was only recently inaugurated, but it quickly became the most significant title in the game and came to be viewed by many to be the equivalent to a World Championship for the sport.

The men’s final at that time was played under a ‘challenge’ system, with a challenger taking on the defending champion in a best of three legs match up, with matches being played at both the two players’ respective squash clubs.

In 1933, Bey took on Don Butcher – who had won the title in 1931 and 1932 – and won both legs to capture the title. No challenger emerged to take on Bey in the British Open final in 1934 so he retained the title by default. Butcher challenged Amr again in 1935 with the Egyptian winning once again.

Bey would then hold the title unbroken until his retirement from the sport in 1938 – retiring without ever losing in the finals of either the British Open or British Amateur Championship, a feat only matched in history by Jonah Barrington.

Bey was noted for his physical approach to the game, earning the moniker as the first ‘professional amateur’ such was the emphasis he placed on physical preparation for competition, illustrated when Don Butcher, whom he beat in two British Open finals, said; “To give you some idea of his wonderful fitness and lasting power, I am the only player who has scored points against him in the fifth game of a serious match.”

Bey is widely considered to have raised the level of the sport to new heights through both his outstanding shot-making ability and his exceptional speed and fitness.

In addition to this, Bey is also considered to be part of the “golden age of sports in Egypt” – a period spanning the 1940s and 1950s that witnessed numerous famed Egyptian sportsmen, notably swimmers and squash players.

Silvia Huntsman
Nationality: English
British Open Title Wins: 1
British Open Final Defeats: 1

Winner of the second women’s British Open Championship in 1923, Silvia Hunstman ripped through the field to reach the final without dropping a game before then defeating defending champion Nancy Cave 2-1 in the title-decider in what was he first appearance at the tournament.

That would prove to be her only appearance in the Championship title-decider as she fell at the semi-final hurdle for nine consecutive years, losing to the eventual winner on six of those nine occasions.

Huntsman continued to compete in the British Open in the 1930s, reaching the quarter-finals in 1933 and bowing out in the early rounds in 1934 and 1935 before making her final appearance at the event in 1938 in what was her 14th British Open.

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