UNSEEDING THE SEEDS
This is the line-up:
As you can see, Australia is seeded one, and I have no argument with that. David Palmer, Paul Price, Stewart Boswell and John Williams will be virtually unbeatable with tremendous strength in depth. And with Anthony Ricketts waiting in the wings shows you just how strong the new Australian crew are.
Wales is seeded number two which is to me incomprehensible. Despite his top five ranking David Evans, the Welsh number one has showed no consistency since his British Open victory last year. Alex Gough can be tough at times but Wales simply does not have a number three of strength.
Canada is ranked fourth, but with Power, Ryding and Shahier Razik at three, I will put my money on them to beat Wales any day.
England are ranked three which is safe bet. Mark Chaloner, Chris Walker and Paul Johnson are tremendously experienced in the team game and Lee Beachill is probably the best number four in the entire tournament. My real beef is the lowly seeding of Scotland at five: with John White and Martin Heath at one and two they have the strength to make the semi-finals, even without a strong three.
So, here's my final four: 1. Australia, 2. Canada, 3. Scotland, 4. England. The next three places should feature Egypt, France and Finland.
THE BARADA STORY
Radwan told Squashtalk: "Astonishingly enough, it seemed that he implied his retirement decision was not final. In this interview, he mentioned his back injury and that his French doctor had instructed him to stop playing for at least six months in order to recover fully, or else he will not treat him again! This came, according to Barada, after a series of attempts from his side to cut his recovery period short in order to participate in tournaments.
He said he had announced his retirement in order for people not to keep expecting a lot of him and to ease the pressure of having to come back quickly, and just in case he could not be able to make it back. He talked about his short-term plans of continuing his studies and recovering from his injuries, saying he had six months to a year to himself now and that he was trying to adjust himself to the fact that his dream of becoming the world's number one might never come true."
He's also got engaged again, but to a different woman .. I for one hope that a year out of the spotlight and away from the pressure will allow him to get hungry for some court action again and for his back to mend properly. He was a valuable addition to the world scene. If he were at number one for Egypt in Melbourne for the team champs, they would be a cert for second place.
But the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and Squash Australia got him banned because Joe has been questioning the AIS lack of results despite the millions of Australian dollars being poured into the AIS. David Palmer went to the AIS six years ago on the understanding he could keep Joe Shaw as coach. And then the AIS told Palmer to get rid of Shaw, that he would never amount to a hill of beans with Joe Shaw as his mentor.
Palmer took off to Europe and settled in Antwerp to be coached by Shawn Moxham, who is in constant touch with Joe Shaw. Now that Palmer is world number one, there should be some red faces at the AIS. In the intervening years there has been some nasty legal stuff between the AIS and Shaw.
So when the organisers of the Coaching conference invited Shaw to participate, the AIS and Squash Australia acted with all their might: Ross Barry of Squash Australia rang organiser Adrian McCormack and informed him that if Joe Shaw was allowed to be a Guest Speaker at the Coaching Conference then all sponsorship monies would be removed .
"The reason was because of the my constant criticism of the AIS and the ASC. They were scared that when I spoke I would compare the results of David Palmer on my program to those of the AIS under Hunt," Shaw said.
The organisers had no choice but to drop Joe, the man who guides the world's top player. The question is, how many players has the AIS coached to number one position? Actually, none. Not one. In fact at the last World Junior Men's championships in Milan, not one member of the Australian team had come out of the institute.
AN ISSUE OF MAJOR
At the time Geoff Hunt, AIS head squash coach said "We've always had their interest at heart. We've always tried to do our best for the athletes." That was four years ago.
Last month the AIS lawyers tried to get the Major's case dismissed on the grounds that the writ had not been served within the time stipulated. But in Australia's Supreme Court Justice Debbie Mullins refused the setting aside application and said the writ served on the various parties - coaches and doctors - was effectual. The judge said that the prejudice suffered by the delays in the service of the writ was outweighed by factors in favour of renewing it. That was bad news for the AIS as they will have to fund another team of lawyers, probably the same team that they used to stop Joe Shaw in his action against them. Guess who will be a prime witness for the Major twins? That's right. Joe Shaw.
WILL BE RESUMED FROM TORONTO
You have probably read about the money problems and the cancellation of the Men's championship because the Eye Group could not come up with the $105,000 prize money. The real question is how come Melbourne 2001, four years in the planning, failed to get sufficient sponsorship in place before this year? They would not have had to depend on the Eye Group for last minute support, which failed to materialise anyway.
One sponsor they won't mention is a certain Martin Bronstein, who entered the Masters, paid his seventy five Australian dollars and then pulled out. As my entry fee has not been returned, I can only assume it was used - along with the fees from the other 1,500 Masters competitors - to run the festival. Glad to do my bit mate. Don't bother to thank me. But I shall be back reporting live from Toronto for the YMG Classic starting on November 18. See you there?