As we reach the end of another season, the PSA's Matt Coles has been talking to the stars of the PSA World Tour about their 2018/19 campaigns. Here he catches up with World Champion and World No.1 Ali Farag.
What a season it has been for Ali Farag. The Egyptian has achieved two of his ‘childhood dreams’ be becoming World No.1, and winning the PSA World Championships.
‘Mr Fantastic’ took over the World No.1 spot in the March rankings, and has not looked like relinquishing it since. His trophy haul for the season includes three PSA Platinum titles, along with the World Championship crown.
“This has been by far my best season to date. I am certainly very pleased with the way I played throughout the entire season, achieving my two childhood dreams along the way, which are obviously becoming the World No.1 and winning the World Championships,” he admitted.
Farag explained how he had always dreamt of achieving the ‘double’ as such, and he still cannot put how he feels about it into words.
“I have always dreamt of two things in squash as a child: To become the World No.1 one day and to win the World Championships,” Farag said.
“I have always asked myself which one I would pick if I had to choose only one, and I was always left stranded to answer. Now for both of them to happen on back to back days (March 1st & 2nd) was a feeling that I can NEVER EVER put into words.”
“I am someone who rarely ever cries. I can count on one hand how much I have cried in the past 5 years for example, two of which are after achieving these two goals, which tells how much it meant to me.”
Despite all of his amazing efforts throughout the campaign, the World No.1 struggled to pinpoint an exact performance that he would call his ‘best’.
One that did stand out for him, due to being one of the biggest wins of his career, was his performance in the final of the Tournament of Champions, when he came back from two games down to beat Mohamed ElShorbagy.
“I am proud to say that there wasn’t a single match that stood out. It was a more of a collective effort throughout the entire season to win crucial matches even when I was not playing my very best,” he added.
“The ‘best’ performance for me would be ones where I am totally outplayed by my opponents and somehow I found a way to win, especially on big stages where there’s a lot at stake. So from that standpoint, I would pick the Tournament of Champions final.”
Farag (left) and ElShorbagy (right) in action in the Tournament of Champions final
Ahead of the 2019-2020 season, Farag is already into his pre-season training, after spending some time away in Bali.
The Egyptian is looking ahead to the start of the campaign, and he has a simple goal for the upcoming term.
“I value my pre season training more than any other time of the year and I am really looking forward to get this good block of training which is the fundamentals you build the whole season upon really,” Farag said.
“My main goals are obviously to maintain that World No.1 spot, and improving everyday!”
Keep a look out for the next player’s review of the 2018-19 season in the coming days, as Tinne Gilis reviews her campaign.