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Daryl Selby in action

11 Points With Daryl Selby

1: Well, Daryl, the moment has finally arrived as you step onto court for your last Canary Wharf Classic. You could not have chosen a finer occasion than this to say farewell in front of your adoring fans at Canary Wharf. How’s the body holding up?

A: Yes, this will most likely be my final big event and really couldn’t have picked a better one as it’s always been the tournament closest to my heart. It’s not an official ‘retirement’ more of a semi-retirement!

2: You’ve enjoyed some amazing battles at the East Wintergarden down the years. Beating Joel Makin on Super Sunday last year was an incredible result and you pushed Tarek Momen hard in the second round, too. Please talk us through a few of your favourite Canary Wharf classics.

A: Last year was great. But I have had some great matches and battles over the years. I have a distinct memory of winning a massive match against my good friend Borja Golan in about 2 hours and completely mucking up the schedule!

3: You showed last year that the best of three format absolutely suits your style of play, so I’m guessing you will be going flat out on day one against Gregoire Marche?

A: Flat out indeed! I do like the best of 3 these days I must admit…

4: How much do the crowd help when you need to dig deep in big matches here at Canary Wharf?

A: Hugely, one of the best atmospheres in squash and luckily, I mostly have them on my side at CW

5: Becoming England captain must have filled you with enormous pride. Plus being part of a phenomenal era with England team-mates Nick Matthew, James Willstrop, Peter Barker, Adrian Grant and yourself all rising to the top or very close to the top of the world rankings. As one of the two remaining players of that incredible group, what have been your favourite moments when pulling on an England shirt?

A: An amazing era of players and hugely proud to have shared being part of an England team with all of them. We’ve had some fantastic moments all together and ones that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

6: From an era when English players dominated the rankings, we are now seeing a seismic change with Egypt ruling the roost in men’s and women’s squash at senior and junior level. We have seen this changing of the guard throughout the past 25 years with first Pakistan, then Australia, and now England. Everything, they say, goes in cycles. What do you think are the secrets to Egypt’s success? And what do England (and other nations) need to do to challenge Egypt’s current supremacy?

A: Egypt have a huge number of junior players in the sport, which is fantastic. The competition over there breeds success and with the combination of a lot of good coaches it means they are truly the force to be reckoned with within squash for the foreseeable future. England and other nations will need a huge push of the sport again within their own countries at trying to increase junior participation, this is the key in my opinion.

7: One final question involving England. Will you still be pulling on the England shirt during the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next summer?

A: We’ll see but I would love to one last time, yes.

8: You are renowned for some truly incredible trick shots. Which ones have been your absolute favourites?

A: I always like to try different shots on court, sometimes to my detriment but sometimes it wins me points as well. I always want to entertain the crowd as much as possible, I think that is huge to help grow the sport, we need players to be creative, imaginative and engaging. Anything through the legs always seems to be a popular one! Topspin when you catch it right though is also a lovely feeling..

9: And please name some of the best (or possibly most outrageous) trick shots or mishits from opponents when you have been on the receiving end?

A: I don’t remember any of those as they are immediately erased from my memory!

10: I always feel that Canary Wharf is like a huge family reunion for the squash community. Please tell us about the incredible support you have received from your own squash-loving family. What special moments stand out?

A: Well I wouldn’t have been playing squash without them because unless Dad played then there is no way I would have ended up playing, I would have been playing a different sport. They have always supported me and for that I will be forever grateful. Winning the British Champs in 2011 was the one that resonates with my family the most I think as it was the culmination of driving me around the country and funding me for all those years!

11: With a young family of your own, it was great to see you on court on World Squash Day with one of your children. Any signs of a next generation of young Selby squash stars coming through, or is it too early to say?

A: There is potential there yes, but just depends what other sports they get into first! I wouldn’t say it’s out of the question that you will see one of them on the Canary Wharf court in the future..

12: And here’s the tiebreak (and you might need to put your business suit and tie on to answer it). You clearly have your career future mapped out with your Dynamic 7 Agency. Will squash continue to be a big part of your life as you navigate this major transition?

A: Squash will always be a big part of my life and I’ll continue to help in any way possible to try and get squash as a sport and all its players the recognition they deserve.

By Alan Thatcher

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