This is truly the best week of the year! Once again, will be wandering about the tournament of the champions squash tournament, observing, talking, asking questions, sharing the bits and peices of information I gather. Hope you enjoy, oh and by the way, just happen to work my day job right in grand central so I'm taking frequent bathroom and coffee breaks to take in as much squash as I can.
Went over to the Princeton Club last night to see the Latourneau and Hisham Ashour qualifying match. On the elevator ride down looked across and noticed whom I thought was Hisham. I exchanged greetings and commented on his recent play and how fit he looked and asked him about his match. He stated he wasn't playing, he's been injured, surely a disconnect in the conversation. Strange, I thought, then it dawned on me, it was Ramy. Stupid me, I apologized for mixing the two of them up. Anyways, he's a lot fitter than Hisham. I texted my fiance and son to tell them just rode the elevator with god, but mixed him up with someone else.
Hisham looked really sharp and pretty fit. When will this guy -- so incredibly talented and really brilliant -- buckle down, train, and break the top 10. Latourneau was no match and it was quite evident mid-way through the second game when he was visibly tired and tinning. He even hit one shot with his racket low and I thought, wow, he does that too! But Hisham put relentless pressure on the game Canadian, taking the ball early, cutting off Latourneau's bullets. It was quick work for Hisham.
Bradley Ball and Nicholas Mueller, that was the match! By the way, what's up with the Princeton Club charging 40.00 to come to the qualifiers? Did any other club charge that? All of 10 people showed up for what turned out to be an incredible match. Nicholas Mueller I still maintain in the next 5 years will be a top ten ranked player. His footwork is already there, his pace not quite at that top ten level, but he beat an incredible player, albeit somewhat past his prime. But Ball was once ranked 15th. Mueller is currently ranked 39th on the PSA. I saw him beat Illingsworth, the top US player in the main draw last year. He is better, some mental errors, but he was tough in what was a physical and pressure filled match. But Ball is something. I saw him on the PST in November at Sports Club/LA against Tierry Linceau. He didn't look very good, slow and tired easily. But this time out, granted he wasn't playing the likes, yet, of Linceau, he was fitter and his front court game was really good and pressured Mueller. Fitness seemed at times a bit of an issue but he recoeved enough to come back brilliantly from 2 match balls to take the fourth game. He just crushes the ball but when he goes to the front he is so deft at the drop, especially on the back hand side. Too many tins otherwise we would have seen an even tighter match. He's clever and wily too first trying to distract Mueller with friendly banter, tirades over the referee calls, and general disruption, but to Mueller's credit, he recovered from the fourth game disappointment and really took it to Ball in the fifth game. Mueller is tough, a bit edgy, and outplayed a much more experienced opponent.
Can't say enough about Ball...every up and coming professional squash player or advanced junior player should watch this players tenacity, confidence and drive. And his drop shot, while still off timing wise, is just a beautiful shot. I can't wait to get back to the courts to try his technique.
Allister Walker watched the Hisham match but then disappeared. He seems much bigger on Squash Live TV.
Never saw this before but a fan agreed with the referee over a hotly contested call, Ball turned to the fan and asked him what did he know, nothing, just what Ball thought.. .