The 2019-20 PSA World Tour season was a good one for Marwan ElShorbagy, as the Egyptian made his way back into the top eight of the World Rankings for the first time in 12 months.
The 27-year-old had dropped out of the top eight in March 2019, and dropped down to World No.21, but consistent performances have seen ‘the Jackal’ rise up the rankings again, and he now sits at World No.7.
ElShorbagy believes that is key for his progression, as in all tournaments bar the PSA Platinum events, only the top eight players are seeded.
“I would say getting back to the top eight was one of my main goals this season. Being unseeded in big tournaments sometimes makes it harder to progress in the later stages of the event,” he explained.
Despite making it back into the top eight for the first time in almost a year, ElShorbagy feels that he could have done better in certain situations throughout the campaign.
“I think there were some situations and matches that I could have dealt better with this season but overall I was more happy with my results in the first half of the season,” he said.
Those results including a run of three semi-final appearances in five tournaments, including the first two events he played in at the Starr of the 2019/20 campaign.
‘The Jackal’ made it to the last four of both the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open and the Oracle NetSuite Open in San Francisco, but lost out to his older brother Mohamed in both clashes.
Marwan (fore) in action against older brother Mohamed in San Francisco
Although he admitted that it is tough to really know what to expect from the first salvo of the season, the Egyptian felt that he had prepared well for the start of the campaign.
The first few tournaments of the season are always hard to predict, but I know I have put all the work in in the summer in Egypt,” he said.
“I had very good preparation for this season, trying to focus on the physical side of the game with my new coach Mark Campbell up in Sheffield.”
Following that solid start, he then made the quarter-finals of the CIB Egyptian Squash Open in front of the Pyramids of Giza, before making it all the way through to the semi-finals of the PSA Men’s World Championship in Qatar in November.
In Doha that week, ElShorbagy got the better of Arturo Salazar, Nicolas Mueller, and Mohamed Abouelghar, before getting revenge on his brother with a 3-2 win in the quarter-finals. He then narrowly lost out to the eventual runner-up Paul Coll in the last four of the tournament.
“I had a good preparation before the World Championships this season. I really wanted to play my best in Doha but unfortunately I couldn’t get the result that I wanted at the end,” the Egyptian explained.
“Of course, beating [Mohamed] Abouelghar in three games and my brother in five games were definitely good results and those were matches where I played very well this season.”
The suspension of the PSA World Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic came at the wrong time for a lot of people, with ElShorbagy being one of those.
The 27-year-old reached the last four of the St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic in the final men’s tournament before lockdown, and he will be aiming to keep that form going when the Tour restarts.