Earlier this week, we caught up with World No.7 Amanda Sobhy, who is preparing to play in the 2020-21 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family on home soil. This is what she had to say.
Firstly, what does the World Championships mean to you?
“The World Champs is something that everyone dreams about winning. It is the pinnacle of our professional career, being World Champion, along with being World No.1. If you were to only win one tournament in your entire career, World Championships is it! To say that you are a World Champion is something that no-one can ever take away.”
What does it feel like to play at home in a World Championships and what is like to have the crowd behind you, supporting you all the way?
“I love it! Oh my god, you have no idea how relieved I am to be able to play an event in the States and not have to fly ten and a half hours! I can just take a two hour flight instead and the crowd is all on our side for once, we are not playing outside when it’s 35 degree heat and there are flying beetles on you!
“It’s a breath of fresh air seriously and it truly means a lot and with this whole season, we are all very appreciative that CIB has been able to host all the events and Egypt has saved our Tour. Now, we can finally play an event in the States, and being in the States and seeing its progress from everything being shut down to being open, people vaccinated and life getting back to normal, I am so excited to just be able to compete in the States again!”
What are your thoughts on the University Club of Chicago, a spectacular venue?
“The University Club is beautiful, they set up in Cathedral Hall and it is a small space but it is gorgeous! Because it is a smaller space, you really do have that packed atmosphere and the crowd is so appreciative and with the stained glass windows, it makes for a spectacular event!
“I love it, that club is great, the people are so friendly and John Flanigan [the University Club’s Athletic Director] does a fantastic job. I think it is one of the tournaments we all love coming to and competing again, and now it is going to be in the summer, instead of winter in Chicago, is like a night and day.”
Your best at the Worlds is a quarter-final appearance in April 2016 in Malaysia. What do you feel you need to do to go even further on home soil?
“I have been putting in the work and my game is slowly coming together, apart from last week at the World Tour Finals, it has been a good trajectory and I have been feeling confident with my performance. I truly believe for the first. Time that I am amongst the best in the world and that I feel like I can win the event. It is just going out there having the confidence knowing that I have put in the work and being able to play freely and give it my all.
You didn’t have the best of week in Cairo, like you said, but over the last few months you have beaten the likes of Nour El Sherbini and Camille Serme. That must give you the confidence that you can beat all those top players in one event?
“For sure, and I think during this season when things are all over the place and everyone is just trying to make the best out of the situation, to be able to truly still find my love for the game and enjoy competing and having these results, gives me confidence going into the Worlds.
“Even though last week at the World Tour Finals was not my best performances, I am very glad I got it out then and not at the World Championships.”
There’s yourself, Liv [Clyne], Olivia [Fiechter] and your sister [Sabrina Sobhy] all in and around the top 25. What does that do for the sport in the United States to have such a powerful quartet?
“It’s incredible. We are all based in Philadelphia and we are all such good friends, we train all the time together. I think it is huge to have all of us pushing each other to new heights and supporting each other.
“We train on court and then hang out off court and it gives us a great environment and I hope that by seeing us four doing so well and pushing up the World Rankings, it will give hope to the next generation of future juniors in the US to want to be inspired to go pro as well, and to continue in our footsteps because we are not going be playing forever and we need people to take over when we retire!”