Mohamed ElShorbagy reflects on a season of resurgence under new coach Gregory Gaultier

July 13 2023

In a season marked by his quest to reclaim the coveted World No.1 ranking, former top-ranked player Mohamed ElShorbagy found renewed form and success under the guidance of his former rival, Gregory Gaultier. Despite falling short of his ultimate goal, ElShorbagy's performances were commendable, securing five PSA World Tour titles, including the prestigious PSA Qatar Squash Classic and triumphing at the European Team Championship with Team England.

Reflecting on the season, ElShorbagy acknowledged the challenges he faced and the need to adjust his expectations. As a dominant force in the sport, he acknowledged the shift from being a player who consistently outshone his peers to now being one of the world's best players. However, he remains resolute in his commitment to improve and rediscover his previous dominance, drawing inspiration from other accomplished athletes like Novak Djokovic and LeBron James, who continue to excel despite their age.

At the age of 33, ElShorbagy recognises that he is one of the older players on the tour and heading into the next season intends to work on his weaknesses and strive to reclaim the coveted World No.1 ranking. He emphasised his desire for being the top-ranked player and expressed his willingness to target consistency rather than individual titles.

ElShorbagy credited his coach, Gregory Gaultier, for making a significant impact on his performance. Despite their intense rivalry in the past, ElShorbagy recognised Gaultier's discipline and hunger for improvement, traits he valued as a player. With another summer of training ahead, ElShorbagy aims to address his weaknesses and build upon the insights Gaultier gained from observing him throughout the season.

Regarding his attacking style of play, ElShorbagy highlighted the need for adaptability. Each season brings different challenges, requiring adjustments to his game. This year, he adopted a more aggressive approach, whereas in the past, he focused on defense, physicality, or patience. ElShorbagy's versatility stems from his constant analysis of opponents and his commitment to learning and improving. He emphasised the importance of staying positive, being self-critical, and listening attentively to enhance his performance.

Reflecting on his matches against Karim Abdel Gawad and Mostafa Asal at the PSA World Championship and PSA El Gouna International, ElShorbagy, despite playing well, labeled those tournaments as failures since he did not win them. He maintained a rigorous self-assessment approach, striving for victory rather than settling for praise without the desired outcome.

ElShorbagy addressed his match against Asal in El Gouna, considering it one of the most enjoyable moments of his career. He cherished the intensity and warrior-like spirit of the match, embracing the physical and emotional challenges. While acknowledging Asal's improvements, ElShorbagy stressed the importance of finding ways to beat opponents and eschewing social media complaints in favor of working on one's game.

Discussing his longtime rival Ali Farag, ElShorbagy applauded his remarkable comeback from injury and considered him one of the sport's greatest players. Inspired by Farag's achievements, ElShorbagy recognised the need for others to draw motivation from his success rather than feeling discouraged. He eagerly anticipated future matches against Farag, citing their rivalry and the unique preparation required for their encounters.

ElShorbagy's favorite moment of the season came from winning the European Team Championship with England. Being part of a team event after a long hiatus, he relished the learning experience and the different mindset required to contribute to the team's success. He expressed his joy with exuberance, highlighting the camaraderie and celebration of victory as a cherished memory.

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