France’s Victor Crouin will make his debut at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals between June 20-25 off the back of his most successful season on the PSA World Tour to date.
Crouin reached the quarter finals or better in 14 World Tour events this season as well as claiming two World Tour titles and finishing runner-up in a further three events, including the Qatar Classic, the first time he had reached the final of a Platinum-level event.
Wins at the Open de France de Squash and the Squash on Fire Open propelled him into the top eight of the CIB Road to Egypt Standings as well as the PSA World Rankings and the 23-year-old is pleased to have been rewarded with a place amongst the world’s elite in Cairo for the first time.
“I think, at that point, I had a good ranking to qualify, so I thought that if I can stay there, if I can keep the consistency up and have some good results then I definitely deserve my place there.”
“It didn’t really change the way I approached tournaments. I was trying to approach it the same way I have the whole season because I felt like if I did as well as I’ve done consistently during the season, then it’s in my hands, and would qualify. I was wary of [Youssef] Soliman and Tarek Momen, but I’m thinking of [Karim Abdel] Gawad as well, if he went all the way and won the event [El Gouna International] then he’d probably have taken my spot.
“I just needed to think about going as far as possible and maybe winning the tournament, that would have ended the debate and I’d have definitely qualified for the World Tour Finals.”
It’s been a long season and Crouin admits that fatigue is beginning to take its toll. However, he won’t be putting any pressure on himself ahead of his first appearance at the season-ending event.
“I’m very young and it’s my first shot at the World Tour Finals,” Crouin says.
“Hopefully I’ll have more World Tour Finals to play in the future. So I’m not trying to put too much pressure on myself, it’s a reflection of how good the season was for me. It’s probably been better than expected.
Crouin has played 19 PSA events this season, the most of any players inside the world’s top 50, so it comes as no surprise that Crouin is ready for the season to end. What is remarkable about Crouin’s success this season is that it is his first full-time season on the PSA Tour following his graduation from Harvard.
“For me, this season started straight after I graduated. So during the El Gouna International last year, I was graduating from college, and then went on to a three-week training period to get ready for my first event in Doha, a 30k which I won. So it was a good start, and then I went on to play the World Games in July then the PSA tour officially started at the end of August in Egypt. And even before that, I played the European Individuals.
“So my season started very early. I think as soon as I graduated from college, I was focused on my professional career and was trying to go up the rankings as quickly as possible and have some decent matches under my belt.
“It was a big experience for me this year. I think I experienced it all, I played on the big stages, I won big matches, and I also had some tough losses a few times, which is part of the game. The competition is very close, and I think next season, it will keep getting closer and every opponent is getting better.
“I think I’ve played most of the players many times now, so they’ve looked into my game, and they’ve started to find weaknesses that they can use to gain advantages. I definitely have to think more about how I can play my opponents and how I can play on my strengths. It’s been exciting, to be at World No.8 around the end of the season is amazing for me and I hope I can do even better at the World Tour Finals.
“I’m soon going to turn to next season, and there’s going to be a lot of points that I’ll have to defend. At the very beginning of the season at the Qatar Classic, the French Open, which is not going to be a 50k anymore, it’s a Platinum in Paris. So I’m looking forward to that, to see how I can defend those points and stay up the rankings and then we’ll see if I can keep going up the rankings.
“I think it’s always a gift to be playing in the World Tour Finals. You’re amongst the top eight players of the season and usually it has the players at the top of the rankings as well, unless there have been some unexpected results. So it’s an honour to be a part of this draw and I hope I can make the best out of it and get a few wins.
“I’ve been trying to be consistent during the season, but I’m also trying to break through and get some wins against the top players in the world, and I’ve been very close recently at the British and European Team Championships. So hopefully I can get a win against those top boys.
The 2022-23 CIB PSA World Tour Finals will take place from 20-25 June at Cairo’s EDNC SODIC venue – watch Crouin live on SQUASHTV.