This season’s CIB PSA World Tour Finals will mark the 10th time that England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy will have played in the event and the 32-year-old will be looking to mark the occasion with his third title at the season-ending tournament.
The former World No.1 and World Champion won this event in successive years in 2017 and 2018 and was a beaten finalist in 2013 and 2021.
‘The Beast’ is proud of the fact that his longevity has seen him be successful over different generations and he explained how he is able to stay consistent throughout each season.
“I think I played my first one when it was in Queens in 2011. There was a whole different group of players, we had [Amr] Shabana, Greg [Gaultier], Nick [Matthew], Peter Barker and Azlan [Iskander], there were so many different players. And then I went to Dubai and there was a completely different group of players as well, now it’s a completely different group too. So it’s nice to be around that when I had to face different generations.
“My mentality was to try and be the best I can be and to be the best player in the world. To try and do it across different generations, to stay hungry and to stay humble with it and muster the art of letting go. I think I’ve always told myself that I don’t have the luxury to celebrate when I win because I want to win next week again. I don’t have the luxury to let a loss affect me so much that it costs me at the tournament the week after.
“I have that always in my head whenever I had a loss or a win, so I can stay consistent over the year. I don’t let a loss affect me too or a win excite me too much.”
ElShorbagy has always had an unshakeable belief in himself, something that all the great players of the game have had in abundance. The World No.3 still believes that in every match that he enters, he backs himself to win.
“I’ve had my moments where I could break down because I’m a human being,” ElShorbagy says.
“But I think I’ve been inside the top five for at least the last 10 years now, so I think that’s the consistency I wanted to have in my career and continue to do so hopefully.
“I think every time I go to a tournament, every time I’m on court in a match, I will have a chance to win the match against anyone, I will just fancy my chances.
“When you go into this tournament, every match is like a final, you can play any of these guys in the final of a big event. This is the beauty of this event really because every match is going to be huge.
“I feel like I’m ready to win it Iif I play the right game and if I have the right game plan against each opponent. I do hope I can play good squash there.”
ElShorbagy says that this season has been an improvement on the one before. The 49-time PSA title winner has captured five PSA titles and has been battling for the World No.1 spot with stars such as current World No.1 Ali Farag, Peru’s Diego Elias and defending World Tour Finals champion Mostafa Asal.
“I wouldn’t call this season my best season ever, but I will definitely say it was much better than last season. There are things that I would have liked to do that I didn’t do and there are things that I didn’t think I was going to do that I did. So as an athlete, when you play at the top for a long time, you always have to accept that you can’t win everything.
“You can have everything but you’ve got to accept that some of the things that you might want and not get are okay and you can’t let it affect you for the rest of the season.
“I think I played a good season to my standard. I think there were moments definitely where I could have done better, but I will always feel that I can do better, even if I win every single tournament. That’s how I am as an athlete.
“But I think I’ve definitely played a much better season. I think having Greg [Gaultier] with me has helped so much, mentally, to get the hunger back after last year. Having England Squash and that support and having a team with me at every moment, all these things helps you to get you in the best shape that you can be in every event and all these things have definitely helped tremendously during the season.
“I think it was a pretty cool thing that there were times during this season when Diego [Elias] was World No.1, I was No.2 and [Mostafa] Asal was No.3. I think it was a pretty cool thing that with the longevity I had in my career, I’m at a time where the person above me is seven years younger than me and the person behind me is 11 years younger than me.
“I’m competing with a generation like this when I was World No.1 when I was 22 years old. I’m 32, that was 10 years ago that I got to the World No.1 spot for the first time and I’m still competing for the World No.1 spot 10 years later. It’s a pretty cool thing to have a rivalry with two players that are so much younger than me.
“Obviously, there are other players like Ali [Farag] and Paul [Coll], but Ali had injuries at the beginning of the season. Paul has not been playing as well as he was the last few seasons and [Karim Abdel] Gawad had the injury so, in terms of the rivals that have been in the semi-finals consistently, it’s been Diego and Asal, and I’ve been competing with them. I think it’s been a cool thing to go through this with both of them.
“I would still like to go to World No.1 one more time in my career. When I retire, I want to say that I have done it and I became the best player in the world across three generations and I haven’t done it yet with Diego and Asal. Even if I can get it for only one more day in my life, this is my goal.”
The 2022-23 CIB PSA World Tour Finals will take place from 20-25 June from Cairo’s EDNC SODIC venue – watch ElShorbagy throughout the tournament live on SQUASHTV.