I have been a bit of a cheat the last couple of days, I've been watching the matches on SquashTV -- I can tell anyone, this is great stuff, I am signing up for the unlimited year round coverage....$80.00 and you are right there around the world. The video and coverage is phenomenal, I became so used to the other site over the years, but this one is leagues above that one.
Tonight, I came down from the Graybar building to see the semifinals (Darwish vs. Wilstrop and Ramy Ashour vs. Nick Mathew). I'm on a contract in that building and it coincided with this great tournament, how great is that?
First of all Shawn and Fram sitting side by side looked like a divorced couple having to sit together to watch one of their children play...no love loss there, I should have photo'd that...anyone who knows them and their history will understand what I mean. Squash should transcend all of that bickering, etc.
I was sitting right near the backhand front corner my favorite perch in the tournament. Can't understand why everyone wants to watch the player's backs? Explain that, the best view is seeing them from the front, the free seats should be the 400.00 seats or at least the side wall...look into the eyes of Ramy, that "cobra" shot, his eyes are like a cobra.
Darwish in the first match in the warmup looked tight, every time he went to the front he seemed to tin the ball. Anyone at any level who has played tournaments, knows that the warmup is so important, you can gauge your opponent before the match even starts. Sure enough, Darwish looked tight throughout the match and tin'd so many balls I think in Hashim Kahn's detention class he would have had to wirte 500 times "no tin ball..."
Wilstrop attacked the front court with such deft of touch, it was something. Here, I feel stupid, and I take my hat off to my son, he said two years ago that Wilstrop is devestating to the front of the court, I sort of dismissed that. I witnessed a surgeon perform open heart surgery on a patient while riding the IRT train. Enough said. I thought the court was cold, it was chilly, and maybe it was like the British courts, how it changed the pace and the ball, I couldn't tell.
Darwish sat dejectedly after the match in the shadows under the stands wondering how glory slipped away, perhaps an all Egyptian final? His wife, sorry, I'm too tired to look her up but she's a highly ranked player, seemed to assuage his defeat but backed off. I went up to him to ask for some comments, he was alone, within himself, "10 minutes" he said. I never went back.
I was really pressed for time and had my son cover my lessons, perhaps tonight, Nick Mathew would send a message to Ramy that he is the Number 1 player in the world. Nick had everything to proove, Ramy, what did he have to prove, he's number 1? Certainly not, take that from him.
I have to say I have seem some incredible players over the years, probably more than Fram G. has, including Jahsher, Jahangir, Ditmar, and the list goes on. Any you know what, Ramy does things, I don't even know what he's doing. I needed Hisham to explain it, I am looking forward to hearing the commentary on the squashTV replay. It seemed Nick Mathew came out in the third game a bit distracted, I wondered if he had tightened up, he played so brilliantly in the first two games, he might have been up 2-0, but was at 1-1. By the way, I wonder about some of those calls, a rolling nick as a Let in the fourth game? When will they put 1 ref in back and 1 ref each side of the front court?
Nick was smoked in the third game, I was wondering lost his concentration, or was he hurting or worried about his bakc, he came out in the fourth game doing some stretches, tell tale sign of tightness. He stopped attacking the front and re-dropping, he went to the lob, an easier shot on the back. Like I said I don't know anything about the post match interview, so did he tighten up?
He seemed to play the match out, just wasn't his night. He has to prove he is really number 1, he's the challenger, he will have to take it from Ramy. But right now, Ramy is simply the best player on the planet, at least tonight, let's see after tomorrow night.
I spoke to Ramy's coach, "he has both the talent and the heart", he emphasized the "heart", that is what makes a champion, I think is what he was saying.
John Nimick, slick, still using the street squash kids to mop up the floors and clean the glass, but without their Urban Squash emblems...okay that might work, but it leads me to believe something else is going on there, a bit amateur to have a 13 year old girl wipe the floor and close the door -- I noticed no one checked to make sure the door latched close. And what was with the floor tonight, scary slip by Wilstrop, we're talking about a player who can really hurt himself. For god's sake, Mt. Olympus, was never known to be a slippery peak, nor should that floor within the grand pantheon of squash.