In an exclusive interview with the Professional Squash Association (PSA), Tarek Momen opened up about his roller-coaster season and his determination to overcome obstacles and confessed: "This was one of the most challenging seasons I've ever experienced."
From the outset, Momen encountered various changes, including moving to a new home and switching coaches. Amidst these transitions, he grappled with unexplained health issues, leaving him physically drained. Nonetheless, he demonstrated gratitude for being able to compete, earn ranking points, and prize money despite the hurdles. The mystery surrounding his health persisted for the first six months, adding to the mental strain.
It wasn't until six months later that Momen finally received a diagnosis - complications post-COVID. He contracted the virus during the summer, just before the season commenced, affecting his match fitness. The first few months were particularly challenging, as his resistance faltered during matches. By January, he began to feel better, a common recovery pattern in long COVID cases. February brought an improvement in his on-court performance, but subsequent setbacks tested his resolve.
One of the major changes for Momen was transitioning to a new coach after eight years. Omar Abdel Aziz became his new mentor, and the change injected fresh perspectives into his training approach. Despite continued challenges, Momen observed positive changes in his game during March and April, indicating growth under his new coach's guidance.
The turning point in Momen's season came during the Black Ball Open in Cairo. Struggling with injuries and doubts, he had a heart-to-heart talk with Abdel Aziz before facing Fares Dessouky. The reassurance and motivation ignited a spark in Momen, leading to a significant win. From that moment onwards, he felt mentally and physically back on track, providing him with the confidence to persevere through the season's remaining battles.
Reflecting on his performance at the PSA Qatar Squash Classic, Momen recognised his playing well despite still battling physical issues. A notable victory against Diego Elias highlighted his determination, even if fatigue limited his abilities in the latter stages of the tournament.
The PSA World Championships proved to be another grueling test, with three back-to-back brutal matches. Despite the challenges, Momen fought with determination, showcasing the true spirit of a champion.
Amidst all the ups and downs, Momen identified the victory over Joel Makin at the PSA Black Ball Open as his favorite moment of the season. Coming back from a 2-0 deficit and securing a place in the PSA Gold final filled him with immense pride.
Looking ahead, the resilient Egyptian is eager for a fresh start in the upcoming season. Momen wishes to end his career on his own terms, without the burden of external factors affecting his performance. He remains hopeful that the previous season's challenges will not repeat, allowing him to face the normal issues that every player encounters.
Tarek Momen's journey throughout a demanding 2022/23 season has been a testament to his unwavering determination and strength. Despite the obstacles, he remains focused on rising above adversity and making a triumphant return to the court, ready to compete at his highest level once again.
For full interview, visit: psaworldtour.com