Squash: Injuries take their toll for India finale - Willstrop

Sheffield squash player Nick Matthew in the World Open final in Rotterdam in November 2011.

Sheffield squash player Nick Matthew in the World Open final in Rotterdam in November 2011.

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It seems no time since I was writing about the final tournament of the 2010 campaign, the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in New Delhi last December.

After a full and testing autumn period here we are again: same city, same event, same venue, that used for the Commonwealth Games.

Having visited the nine-court squash complex today for a practice session, it hardly looks as if it has been touched during the year that has passed. I fear, without knowing I should say, that this facility has not provided a legacy as the national squash centre in Manchester has, for example.

Used for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, situated next to the City of Manchester football stadium, the centre is not only the headquarters of England Squash and Racketball but, more importantly, an epicentre of sport for people in the community, and is particularly supportive of schools.

On the playing front, Ramy Ashour, after a spell of irritating injury problems, has re-entered the fray, a relief to him, his fans and the squash world in general.

His troublesome hamstrings broke down at the world open in November in what was almost a carbon copy of events at the end of last year, where at the Saudi World Open he had to forfeit his second-round match.


World number one Nick Matthew, on the other hand, has been forced to pull out of this week’s finale because of an adductor problem that he picked up during the last period of play, in which he captured the world title for the second time in a row.

Amr Shabana is the other top-six player who has had to take enforced leave of the tournament, which will no doubt be a negative for competition organisers.

This all leaves ranking places at the top end open to change, so there is everything to play for in Delhi.

We have had a warm welcome; the staff both at the venue and the gorgeous hotel cannot do enough for anybody, and these are some of the reasons we love coming back.

If only it were a little easier to gain access to the place: as I write my dad, Malcolm, and manager, Mick, are stranded in London with visa issues.

Visas are notoriously hard to come by for India, adding stress to the travel experience; no doubt if Home Secretary Theresa May had a problem it would be eased with one meeting with Indian immigration officials, such are the corresponding extremes of immigration protocol in the UK and India.

Here’s hoping they both make it, and that there is some good squash to be played this week.