Ali Farag reflects on a season of triumph & redemption

July 17 2023

In the fiercely competitive world of squash, Egypt's Ali Farag had a season to remember in 2022-23. Despite battling a debilitating knee injury that forced him to miss several events, Farag's determination and skill propelled him to new heights, culminating in him regaining the coveted World No.1 ranking and clinching four consecutive titles, including his first British Open trophy and a fourth World Championship crown.

Reflecting on his season in an exclusive interview with the Professional Squash Association (PSA), Farag admitted that he exceeded his own expectations by a long shot. Initially focused on breaking back into the top four after falling to No.5 in the PSA World Rankings, his remarkable comeback surpassed even his wildest dreams. Winning four tournaments in a row demanded immense mental fortitude, and his triumph at the British Open, coming at a perfect moment, provided him with the confidence he needed for the PSA World Championships.

Having been a beaten finalist in the British Open on three previous occasions, Farag approached the tournament with newfound determination. Victories against top-ranked opponents served as a crucial confidence boost, eventually leading him to lift the prestigious title he had long coveted. He emphasised that the win was a monumental achievement and a significant addition to his already illustrious career.

Regarding his return to World No.1, Farag acknowledged that he had this goal in mind but didn't expect it to happen so quickly. While delighted to hold the coveted position, he was aware of the looming threat from Diego Elias, vowing to defend his ranking during the summer.

When asked about future ambitions, Farag humbly expressed contentment with his already stellar career. His initial dreams of becoming World No.1 and a World Champion had been surpassed, making everything else a bonus. He emphasised the importance of being the best version of himself, a philosophy instilled by his team and those around him, which has undoubtedly contributed to his remarkable success.

Acknowledging his place among squash legends such as Amr Shabana and Nick Matthew, Farag felt humbled, still seeing them as larger-than-life characters who have shaped the sport. He expressed hope that in time, he would recognise himself in the same light, but for now, the magnitude of his achievements remains surreal.

Farag shared insights into his most outstanding performances during the season. He pointed to the British Open final and the last three matches of the World Championships as examples of his best squash. However, he highlighted the PSA Manchester Open and PSA El Gouna International as tournaments for showcasing his mental resilience, proving that he could conquer any obstacle in his path.

Looking ahead to the coming season, Farag maintained his focus on two primary objectives: maintaining the World No.1 ranking and securing another World Championship title. He drew inspiration from his coaches, Karim Darwish and Mike Way, who believed he had yet to reach his peak. The prospect of further improvement and reaching new levels motivated him, and he pledged to work closely with his team to define and attain these goals, ultimately striving to be a contender in every event he participates in.

In the world of squash, Ali Farag's journey from injury setbacks to becoming World No.1 again has been nothing short of extraordinary. With an unwavering determination and an unquenchable thirst for improvement, Farag's legacy continues to grow, solidifying his place among the sport's greats.

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