“It’s One Of Those Titles That Has Eluded Me” – Farag Excited For World Tour Finals Test

The PSA World Tour Finals trophy is one of the very few titles that has eluded the grasp of World No.1 Ali Farag in his career to date.

Despite having accumulated a staggering 40 titles to his name, Farag is yet to ever progress to a final in any of his five appearances at the World Tour Finals, having been knocked out in the semi-finals on three separate occasions.

However, if ever the Egyptian was ever to have a chance at reversing this trend, now would be the time.

Farag arrives at the season-ending event on the back of potentially his best-ever year on the PSA World Tour – a campaign that has seen him capture seven titles, five of which have been Platinum successes, and record a winning percentage of 90.3%.

The 32-year-old has been drawn in Group A alongside three-time winner and defending champion Mostafa Asal, as well as former World Champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad. The top seed will get his tournament underway on Tuesday against Gawad at 18:45 (GMT-7), with his match, along with all others, available to watch live on SQUASHTV.

Speaking prior to the Xbox PSA World Tour Finals, which will take place between June 18-22 at Bellevue’s Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House, Farag said:

“The World Tour Finals has always been a testament of how well you’ve been playing all season. To be among the top eight players in the world, it shows consistency, it shows that you belong up there.

“I remember the very first time I got in, I actually got in by Ramy [Ashour] pulling out, but I was still very proud. I think I’ve made it every single season ever since, so it’s been an honour participating in it.

“I’ve never won it before though, it’s one of those titles that has eluded me. I haven’t made a final in five years, but yeah you know it’s the top eight players, different format, you play group stages first in a best-of-three format, so it’s hard.

“Now it affects your ranking, which makes it a bit more exciting. Every win counts and then if you make it to the final you play best of five against I guess the best player in that season.”

Despite the PSA World Tour Finals having not been held in America since 2014, Farag will travel to Seattle, with fond memories, having competed in his first-ever World Championships in the city back in 2015.

“It was against Kristian Frost and I remember I was number 33 in the world, and I was adamant that I was going to win the event,” Farag retold.

“Nour [El Tayeb] was kind of laughing at me. We were only engaged at the time and Ramy Ashour was there. Ramy was, and still is, a huge deal for me. We grew up in the same club and I was talking to him before the tournament.

“I told him I want to win it. No disrespect to you, I know you’re in the event and you’re one of the heavy favourites, but I just want to win it. And he kind of laughed at me, but I saw in his eyes that he was a little impressed that I had this hunger in me from the beginning.

“I ended up reaching the quarters, which included two big upsets. I beat Max Lee and then Simon Rosner, then I was 2-1 up against Greg [Gaultier]. But obviously, he was so fit, and he tired me out a lot. I started cramping up in my quads and I couldn’t really move for the last two games, so that was a good memory from Seattle.

“Then the invitational event that we go to every year in the summer before the start of the season are good memories. Great players, a great event, a good preparation event for the season in a hard manner, but also in a kind of friendly manner. So the combination is brilliant for us. Nour and I are always invited together as well, and we take Farida with us sometimes.

“I love going back, and I’m sure it’s not going to be any different this time around.”

Despite losing out in the final of the British Open to Asal last week, Farag remained extremely proud of his efforts throughout the 2023-24 season, having remained at the summit of the World Rankings from day one of the season all the way through to now.

The four-time World Champion admitted that even if he didn’t succeed in his quest for the PSA World Tour Finals title, it would only add as fire to come back a better player after the summer break.

“Regardless of what happens this week, it’s definitely been my most successful season on the PSA World Tour,” he said. “Losing all my matches at the World Tour Finals wouldn’t change that I’ve been very blessed to achieve so many great results and create so many great memories throughout the season.

“I’m obviously very proud and very happy. I’ll try to keep up that form until the end of the season, and if it doesn’t happen, then I’ll work even harder in the summer to try and get back even stronger.”

Tickets for the Xbox PSA World Tour Finals 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.