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Mahesh Mangaonkar

Madeira International Preview: Mangaonkar Confident In Current Form

The Madeira International gets underway on the Portuguese island tomorrow, with 24 players featuring in an international event, only the third on the Challenger Tour in 2021.

Only the Odense Open and the Squash on Fire Open have had no restrictions on entries so far this calendar year, with the Madeira International being the first in a long list of events which will do so, as the Tour moves back to normality following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 24-strong draw will feature 12 nationalities, with seven of those amongst the top eight seeds. The English duo of Joshua Masters and Robert Downer are joined by Egypt’s Moustafa El Sirty, Portuguese No.1 Rui Soares, Colombia’s Juan Camilo Vargas, Austrian Aqeel Rehman and Welshman Emyr Evans, all of whom are members of the top 100 in the World Rankings.

The top seed for the tournament will be India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar, with the World No.57 aiming for his first victory on Tour since the Sekisui Open back in 2019.

We spoke to the Indian ahead of the event, and he believes he is in a good place to challenger for the title this week in Madeira.

“I feel confident with my current form going into the event. I have been training a lot in Helsinki with my coach and training partners, and the preparation has been fantastic leading up to the event,” he explained.

Mangaonkar also admitted that the level of competition is so tough on the Tour, that you have to be on your game at all times, otherwise, you could be out of a tournament in an instant.

“Currently the competition on the PSA World Tour is so open. Whether you’re World No.1 or the last player on the list, every match counts and if I’m not on top of my game, players will try to capitalise on that opportunity,” the Indian said.

“In some aspect being the top seed does put a bit of anxiety but the best players view it as an opportunity to grow and focus on the things that I can control.”

The Indian is hoping for his first win in two years, and with that, he is hoping that he can make a move back inside the top 50 in the World Rankings.

“It would be amazing to win the tournament and collect ranking points which will help me get back in the top 50 of the World Rankings. However, my focus is to perform the best in every match and take one match at a time,” he said.

“I have planned to play three Challenger 10 events this month which means that if I do well in all, I should be higher than I have ever been. Like I said earlier, my preparation has been fantastic for the past month, I have worked a lot on my weaknesses and strengths.

“It’s now time to shine and put the work in play. I’m confident that it is going to be a great event in Madeira. I’m looking forward to interacting with the crowd and competing against my opponents.”

The event takes place from Wednesday 8 to Sunday 12 September at the Galo Active Health Club in Madeira, where Mahesh Mangaonkar is the top seed for the tournament. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.

First Round Draw: Madeira International
[1] Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) – [Bye]
[WC] Jordan Warne (ENG) v [9/16] Edwin Clain (FRA)
[9/16] Sam Todd (ENG) v Augusto Ortigosa (ESP)
[6] Aqeel Rehman (AUT) – [Bye]
[7] Robert Downer (ENG) – [Bye]
Valeriy Fedoruk (UKR) v [9/16] Jakob Dirnberger (AUT)
[9/16] Tom Walsh (ENG) v [WC] Tobias Weggen (GER)
[3] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) – [Bye]
[4] Rui Soares (POR) – [Bye]
[WC] Simao Neves (POR) v [9/16] David Zeman (CZE)
[9/16] Sergio Garcia Pollan (ESP) v Charlie Cowie (ENG)
[8] Emyr Evans (WAL) – [Bye]
[5] Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) – [Bye]
Joel Jaume Izcara (ESP) v [9/16] Ivan Perez (ESP)
[9/16] Hugo Varela (ESP) v Javier Martin (ESP)
[2] Joshua Masters (ENG) – [Bye]

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