RJ Mitchell talks to Tarek Momen about his desire ahead of this week's PSA Men's World Championship.
Tarek Momen has revealed that his epic run to the final of last season’s World Championships in Chicago has only made him even more determined to go one step further when this season’s event kicks-off in Qatar later this week.
The World No.3 endured an epic run to February's final in the Windy City when he blew away defending champion Mohamed El Shorbagy in a death struggle five-game semi-final.
That came on the back of another five-game war with Mohamed Abouelghar in round three and his defeat of 2017 finalist Marwan El Shorbagy in the last eight.
No surprise then that when The Viper lost a taught third set tie-break to Ali Farag in the final itself the sting went out of his game and he succumbed in a final that still produced 79 minutes of world class squash.
But speaking candidly with SquashXtra, Momen admitted that his final torment could have taken him down one of two paths.
“I think when you make the final of the World Championships and lose you can go two ways. Either you say that was some effort and pat yourself on the back or you say I can do better; I must find the way to come back and be World Champion. I choose the second,” said The Viper.
“I’m really excited about the World Championship coming around in November in Qatar. Since I was a boy my dream has been to win the World Championship and after making the final last season to go one better is a huge target for me this time around.
“To beat both Shorbagy brothers on the way to the final was huge, especially since they had been the two finalists in 2017. In the final the third set tie-break was massive and ultimately not winning it cost me and I ran out of juice.
“But after the final and my defeat by Ali, I made myself a promise that I would be back and that one day my name would be on the World Championship trophy and that remains my burning desire for Doha this time around.
“The fact that it is coming just nine months after Chicago is a huge plus for me. There is no doubt about it.”
But as he dissected his torturous trek through the early rounds of last season, Momen admits that this time around he must inject the venom early in order to bare his fangs at the death.
The 31-year-old said: “To win the majors I think the one thing I must do is learn to finish my early matches that bit quicker. Always, when I make the final, I seemed to be the player who is most drained, has had the tougher run through and last season’s World Championship was a prime example of that.
“I had a five-setter with Mohamed Abouelghar in the third round and again with Mohamed ElShorbagy in the semi and after 79 minutes of the final that is going to hurt you. Yes, the first thing is to get the win and make the next round but you reflect on every match and you know that there are points, passages of play, where you could have taken the better option, maybe didn’t select the right shot, this little detail is what you need to get right at world championships.
“This is why I have tried to develop fresh weapons, add new ways to kill the game early and make sure that I am fitter than at any other stage of my squash career. During the summer I spent time with my coach, Haitham Effat, adding to my front court attacking game as it’s vital you develop new weapons that will keep your opponent guessing and never allow him to be comfortable.
“With my fitness coach Samir El Degwi, I have done some amazing things in training and I would say I am in the best shape of my squash career. All the building blocks are there for me to have a great season and I am absolutely determined to achieve that.
“But the ultimate test of all of that will be the World Championships. You know that every season when they come round there is a buzz in the locker room, there is no doubt that the worlds is something that any player wants to win because if you do you are in the squash history books.”