Gohar dethrones Sherbini – but what a shame
What a shame. No seriously. The level those two were playing at was surreal. The pace on each ball, the intensity, the skills, the reflexes, the game intelligence and flair, the tenacity of both players, each with very different style, was pure diamonds.
The first game, what a game, Nour seems in control, from 4/4, 6/4, 8/6, 10/6 but just stops with her tongue sticking out, pauses for a moment, looks at his dad (right behind my right shoulder) and I’m thinking ‘that’s strange’.
Like she did in the previous match against Rowan in the semis where she was up 10/5 and only clinched the game 16/14, Nour was struggling slightly to contain Nouran.
But a seesaw squash, incredible of pace and intensity, I rarely saw that level of squash between two ladies to be honest. And despite having 7 game balls, Nour cannot close the game, and it’s the Terminator, on her third attempt, 17/15 in 18m.
And as they exit the court, we hear the MC asking for the physio for Miss El Sherbini. Then the look at her parents made complete sense. A slight worry the night before that had flared up in the first game, and eventually will force the Egyptian Princess to throw the towel, her dad and mum really pushing for her to stop – let’s not forget that she’s got the Nationals in two days and maybe more importantly, the British in 10 days…
Nour El Sherbini : “I’m definitely disappointed to end it like this. Actually I thought it was a very good match and both of us were playing really good, so unfortunately it had to end like this.
“Actually I felt it a little bit after the match yesterday but until before the match I was really good and had nothing but yeah, at the end of the first game, I felt it more and the pain came back and was getting stronger. I don’t know how long it’s going to take and or how bad it is, but hopefully it’s not that bad. And I’m still walking right now. So that’s a good thing!”
“I think Nouran is the best player right now and you can’t play her when you’re not your best. I hope I made the right choice; you always have to listen to your body and hopefully I will come back again.”
Nouran Gohar : “I’m definitely not happy with the way it ended. I just wish her a speedy recovery. I can’t wait for our next battle. Having the rivalry with Nour right now is something I’m very proud of. I’ve always looked up to Nour. She’s a great player and [the rivalry] is something I’m so proud to have.
“My advice to young players is] never give up. I’ve always tried really hard and I never really gave up, even when it wasn’t really going my way. Certainly, it didn’t go my way many times. Now I’m just living better days and I’m happy with it. I’m not taking it for granted, I just want more. Always having the hunger and determination are the main things that you always have to have. Just believe in yourself.”
“I want to thank you all for coming out today. It has been an amazing evening. Having you here makes it extra special for us, that’s why I like to play in Egypt. Thank you so much for coming. That’s why we’re good at squash, because of you guys. Thank you so much for the support.”
“I want to thank my family. My mum used to come with me to every training session but now it’s so stressful for her so she just watches at home. I want to thank her for everything she did. My dad, obviously, he’s still alive! My brothers, my grandpa who came all the way from the USA to watch. My uncle, I don’t know where he is. My cousins, everyone. Because the whole family is here today, my brothers! So thank you guys, your support means the world to me.
“Obviously my husband, he has been my biggest supporter. He’s been supporting me so much and I give him a hard time sometimes. But he has always been there, so thanks Ziad.
“My team, thank you so much Omar Abdel Aziz, Hossam Shaddad, and my physiotherapist Mohamed Wafaai, he’s not here, but they’re always there for me. That trio who are there for me, thank you so much, 10 years and counting. Wadi Degla and Karim Darwish thank you so much for everything, you’ve believed in me from the very first day so thank you for everything. Rodney Martin, I’ve been working with him in the States, and he’s been doing a great job with me.
“I have a great team that I’m very proud of and very happy with. My sponsors, Wadi Degla, obviously CIB thank you so much for the support, has been supporting squash in Egypt and it’s big. Tecnifibre, Red Bull, thank you guys for the support. And last but not least, Black Ball has been doing an amazing job of hosting such a big tournament. You keep on raising the bar every year, so thank you so much for hosting this tournament.
I will keep good memories from this tournament, becoming World No.1 and winning the title obviously, so thank you for making me have a good time here. Thank you all.