Asal Eying History At Xbox PSA World Tour Finals

Newly-crowned British Open champion Mostafa Asal will be looking to etch his name in the history books next week by becoming the first-ever player to win four consecutive titles at the PSA World Tour Finals.

Asal has made the PSA World Tour Finals his own since making his debut in 2021, capturing the title in all three of his appearances at the end-of-season event. The Egyptian can become only the second player since the legendary Jansher Khan in 1998 to win the event on four separate occasions, while also moving clear of former World No.1 Peter Nicol, who claimed three successive titles in 1999, 2000, and 2001.

And with Asal arriving on the back of Platinum success at the British Open last week, and rising to World No.2 in the process, it would take a brave person to write the 23-year-old off.

‘The Raging Bull’ is unlikely to have it all his own way though, having been named in a stacked group alongside World No.1 Ali Farag, two-time winner Mohamed ElShorbagy and 2019 champion Karim Abdel Gawad.

“It would be history,” Asal said on the prospect of a fourth consecutive title. “It’s special, it’s my very favourite tournament. To lift this trophy outside of Egypt would be credit and I’m looking forward to it because I love it.

“I love the format, the best-of-three and the action. As I’ve said, if I lose all of the matches in the World Tour Finals, it would still be my favourite tournament. But hopefully, we’re going to go for it and I’m going to win a fourth.”

“Some people will say World Championships [is their favourite tournament], some people will say British Open and many other tournaments, but this, for me, is my favourite tournament. It’s the action, the drama, the points, and if you win this game you will qualify. It’s unbelievable, it feels like a football league, needing a game off somebody to qualify for example.

“In my first appearance I think I had the World No.1, No.2 and No.3 in my pool actually, and I was saying to all my friends that I wanted to take one game from Mohamed [ElShorbagy] or Marwan [ElShorbagy] or from Ali [Farag]. I actually entered my first time there because somebody had to pull out and I entered the tournament by luck. I don’t know how I managed to win it that year. I had only just turned 20, and when I’m see this back, it is unbelievable.

“Time flies. Suddenly like this [clicks his fingers] I have three World Tour Finals in a row. Hopefully, it will be my title again this year.”

The 2023/24 season has been one of change for Asal, with ‘The Raging Bull’ a transformed player to the one who claimed victory over Diego Elias in last year’s title decider at the PSA World Tour Finals.

Since the 2023 summer break, Asal has been working under the tutelage of James Willstrop, a player who has changed Asal’s temperament significantly and laid the foundations for a game that is based on fair-play and gentlemanly respect on court.

After returning from his 12-week suspension from tour in October, Asal’s game has gradually been trending in the right direction, with his form over the last two months matching that of the player who became the third-youngest man to reach World No.1 back in January 2023.

Asal has reached the final of each of his last five events on the PSA World Tour, with title victories over World No.1 Ali Farag at the Black Ball Open and the British Open leaving him well-set for a strong finish to the season next week.

“With the changes, with lots of things that I am doing, I am grateful to be playing squash as it is.

“The best thing right now is that there are no bans. Everything is fine, and this is a credit to James [Willstrop]. He has been on the road with me and I needed this. I wasn’t being guided to this level before, to be honest. Now that I have someone who is guiding me, at this young age, it is brilliant. I have to give this man a lot of credit.

“I’m really happy that I’m still playing at this level and getting back to my level before. I have beaten the likes of Ali [Farag], Paul [Coll], and Diego [Elias]. This season, I can say that for the top eight, it has been one of the best seasons for all of the guys.”

The 2023/24 season has been the busiest ever on the PSA World Tour, with Asal himself competing in 14 events across four different continents since returning to action at the Grasshopper Cup earlier this season.

On how he has looked to maintain his levels despite the taxing schedule, Asal said:

“It’s about staying mentally very strong. The mentality of wanting to push and finish the season strongly. At the World Tour Finals, I want to finish really strongly so I can then enjoy my off-season.

“Even if you are not World No.1, but you finish the season with a title, it is really nice!”

Asal added that one other sport away from squash will be taking prominence as he unwinds in the off-season, saying: “I will go shopping in Birmingham while I’m here for some football kits – I have now got all the t-shirts of [Cristiano] Ronaldo. I will enjoy the summer by playing as much football as possible and going to the beach in Egypt. It is an unbelievable place to spend the off-season.

“It’s all going to be about football though, as long as there are no injuries. I will make sure that I don’t take myself out injured for the beginning of next season though!”

This year’s Xbox PSA World Tour Finals will see action played in the USA for the first time since 2014, with the top eight men’s and women’s players from the qualifying standings travelling to Bellevue, Seattle, for the final event of the 2023/24 campaign.

All matches will be held at Bellevue’s Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House and fixtures will be streamed live on SQUASHTV. The semi-finals and finals will also be shown live on the channels of contracted broadcast partners.

Tickets can be purchased here, while squash fans can stay up-to-date with news from the tournament by following the PSA World Tour on TwitterFacebookInstagramYouTube and TikTok or by visiting the official tournament website.