The first tournament of the new year begins in Poland tomorrow with the ‘French General’, Gregory Gaultier, the top seed for the Challenger 10 level Expression Networks Enjoy Open.
As his comeback continues, the Frenchman, who is back inside the world’s top 40 for the first time since returning from injury, will be looking to take a third Challenger 10 title since September, having already won the Expression Networks Nolan and Liam’s Tournament and the Expression Networks Prague Open.
This week’s event, held at the Enjoy Squash Club in Bielsko-Biala in Poland is limited to cross-border participation, with players currently residing in Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia, along with those living in Poland, allowed to enter the tournament.
Gaultier will be the top seed for the tournament, and he is looking forward to playing at this venue for the first time in his career. The Frenchman is also confident that he can win the tournament, to continue his good form
“I am confident to win these kind of events. I am playing to get points which is my priority to get back up in the World Rankings,” he explained ahead of the event.
“I don’t want to wait and not play, be ranked where I am and suddenly not being able to get in the big events. I don’t want to sit at home and watch others play anymore, I think I have done enough of that while I was injured and absent from the tour for 15 months.
“Now it’s time to play anything just to get my ranking up. Every win gives you extra confidence, of course. I am also looking forward to play for the first time at Enjoy Squash Club in Bielsko-Biala.
“My goal is to get back in the top 20 definitely this year and then I would love to get back in the top 10.”
The Frenchman, who is now the World No.39, will go up against Germany’s Heiko Schwarzer in the first round on Wednesday, January 6, and he is hoping to get more out himself after a frustrating 2020.
“It went alright but not crazy, I’m satisfied with my improvements but I didn’t get a big win yet over a top player, and I expected to play a bit better in the big events,” he admitted.
“I trained pretty hard to come back to where I am now but most of the time I had to manage the pain in my knee in training. I couldn’t always do what I wanted, had to slow down or do other things to compensate.
Lately I feel less and less pain and [I have] started doing things in training that I wasn’t doing the whole year to improve certain areas that I couldn’t, so it is positive overall.
The Expression Networks Enjoy Open takes place from January 6-8 at the Enjoy Squash Club in Bielsko-Biala, Poland. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.
First Round Draw: Expression Networks Enjoy Open
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Heiko Schwarzer (GER)
Tobias Weggen (GER) v  Viktor Birtes (CZE)
 Ondrej Uherka (CZE) v [WC] Daniel Poleshchuk (ISR)
Filip Jarota (POL) v  Robert Downer (ENG)
 Roshan Bharos (NED) v Marek Panacek (CZE)
David Zeman (CZE) v  Valentin Rapp (GER)
 Jakub Solnicky (CZE) v Valeriy Fedoruk (UKR)
Julius Benthin (GER) v  Mazen Gamal (EGY)