The 2019-20 PSA World Tour season begins tomorrow at the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open – and the upcoming campaign promises to be one of the most unpredictable seasons in recent memory.
The likes of Ali Farag, Mohamed ElShorbagy, Raneem El Welily and Nour El Sherbini are expected to challenge for the majority of the sport’s biggest titles – but there are a number of players waiting in the wings as they look to make the step up and challenge right at the top of the game.
We spoke to our panel of experts to discuss who they thought could be the next players to win a ‘major’ title over the next nine months.
Nicol David – Former World No.1 & Eight-Time World Champion
“Maybe there could be a surge from Karim Abdel Gawad in some tournaments and Simon Rösner might find his groove, but leading the crop will still be Ali Farag and Mohamed ElShorbagy, with Tarek Momen on a mission too.
“There will probably be a surprise win by Mohamed Abouelghar or Fares Dessouky as they’re gaining lots of confidence recently.
“In the women's game, perhaps Raneem El Welily and Nour El Sherbini are to defend their titles but the hungry ones like Camille Serme, Nouran Gohar and Nour El Tayeb will come out to fight for titles this season. Some surprises may come from Sarah-Jane Perry, Amanda Sobhy and Tesni Evans, with Joelle King always in the mix to tackle a title win when she surges on.”
Joey Barrington – SQUASHTV Lead Commentator
“There's no reason why the 'Baby-Faced Assassin' [Karim Abdel Gawad], who won the World Tour Finals, can't win another one in the 2019-20 season.
“I would definitely put him in there to get a couple of wins. Paul Coll is due a big tournament win, I feel that will happen, and I feel that Diego Elias has the opportunity to win a big event as well.
“I also feel that, if not this season, then the season after, Joel Makin will also win a major tournament if he continues his improvement. It might not be the 2019-20 season in terms of a 'major' win, but it will be the season after, I feel.
“That's outside of Mohamed ElShorbagy and Ali Farag, obviously. I'm not sure if the 'Colombian Cannonball' [Miguel Rodriguez], will be able to achieve what he did when he won the British Open back in 2018, I'm not sure that will happen again.
“I'm not 100 per cent sure if [Simon] Rösner will win a major again, but you never know, and fingers crossed that the guys are healthy and motivated to take out some of these top guys and add a real nice mix to the game again.
“For the women, Gohar has proven what she can do by winning the British Open, and I think she will win some majors in the 2019-20 season.
“Camille Serme could also win, there is certainly something there for her. Joelle King has won before, and there is no reason why she can't win again while she's still in the top eight, and then there is Sarah-Jane Perry.
“If she gets a good run and she's confident physically, there is no reason why she can't topple all of the top girls to win a major tournament. From a consistency basis, I'm not sure how often she will win, but I do feel that Perry has an opportunity to take a major title during the 2019-20 season, along with Gohar and also possibly Joelle King and Camille Serme.”
Sarah Fitz-Gerald – Former World No.1 and Five-Time World Champion
“I’m hoping to see players like Diego Elias capture a major title.
“After Miguel Rodriguez of Colombia won the British, which is such a non-traditional squash nation, it would be fun to see another different nation capture a major, and it would also be good to see Diego follow up from his World Juniors title win.”
Lee Drew – SQUASHTV Commentator and PSA Referee & Refereeing Director
“Players who have not one a major, who I think could:
“Men’s: Momen, he’s been so close, he must get over that final hurdle soon. Elias, who looks unstoppable in full flow. Coll, he is getting closer and closer. An outside tip would be Dessouky – if he can package it all at once.
“Women’s: Perry, she is proven as someone who can win in very strong fields. Sobhy as well, she has reached the finals of major before and was probably only denied by her achilles injury.”
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