Search Squashtalk

> Saudi Open
> Report Card



Feather Sports



Saudi Int’l: Team Kneipp Report Card


2006: by Team Kneipp (kah-nipe)         

last major tournament of 2005 has finished and here’s our
perspective on who did well and who didn’t.

saudi intl
The Saudi International introduced
a whole new audience to the world of professional squash. (photo © 2006
Fritz Borchert.)


Champagne and Strawberries

Jonathon Power
The last time that Jonathon Power was on top of the world squash ranking
the World Trade Centre twin towers were both standing intact, Lance
Amstrong had only won the Tour de France twice, Thierry Lincou was
ranked 20, Amr Shabana wasn’t even in the top 20 and James Willstrop
had only just broken into the top 100 for the first time. The top 20
looked like this:

saudi intl
Everything went well for Jonathon
Power in Saudi Arabia (photo © 2005 Fritz Borchert.

1 [1] Jonathon Power CAN
2 [2] Peter Nicol ENG
3 [3] David Palmer AUS
4 [4] David Evans WAL
5 [5] Paul Price AUS
6 [7] John White SCO
7 [6] Simon Parke ENG
8 [9] Ong Beng Hee MAS
9 [8] Martin Heath SCO
10 [10] Paul Johnson ENG
11 [16] Lee Beachill ENG
12 [11] Mark Chaloner ENG
13 [13] Alex Gough WAL
14 [12] Ahmed Barada EGY
15 [33] Chris Walker ENG
16 [17] Del Harris ENG
17 [16] Stewart Boswell AUS
18 [18] Graham Ryding CAN
19 [14] Omar Elborolossy EGY
20 [19] Thierry Lincou FRA

That was July 2001. Since then eight of these players have retired.
Players who were off the radar include Ricketts who was ranked 25, Shabana
was 27, Matthew was 49, Willstrop was 83 and Gaultier was 109.

victory in Saudi Arabia wins him the coveted #1 position back along
with the record of longest time between holding the top spot for any
squash player, male or female (four and a half years). He was nearly
out of the top 10 this time last year. He had a spectacular tournament
to cap off a brilliant year.

Anthony Ricketts
There were six players that could have finished #1 for the January rankings
if they had won this tournament. Lincou, Power, Palmer, Willstrop,
Ricketts and Shabana. It came down to Ricketts and Power battling it
out. Power won that, but it was a spectacular tournament and year for
Ricketts and I don’t think anyone doubts that although Power
prevented him from reaching the top spot for January, he’ll get
it sometime soon.

Darwish & Nick Matthew

Darwish and Matthew took out two of the prospective January #1s with
victories over Palmer and Shabana respectively in the second round.

Vinegar and Rotten Tomatoes

Rodney Durbach and Peter Barker
Durbach and Barker didn’t get to serve a single ball. The South
struggled with visa problems and didn’t get into the country while
an ankle
injury prevented Barker from making White break a sweat on his way to
second round.

Shabana & Palmer

saudi intl
Matthew (r) played well in
Saudi Arabia (photo © 2005 Fritz Borchert.

new World Champ lost to Matthew with a tiring body. Palmer has been
the most consistent player in the two major tournaments previously
but couldn’t
get past Darwish.

Thierry Lincou
He has managed to maintain the #1 ranking for all of 2005 – a spectacular
feat. But this month he lost that ranking and also his title of World Champion.
He has had solid results in the tournaments and made the semi finals here,
but he’ll still regard the month as a disappointment.

Peter Nicol
Nicol lost to Ricketts in the quarter finals. They usually have very
close, tough matches, but a 26 minutes loss is something different.
Lincou lost to Ricketts in the following round and commented on the
43 minute difference between the quarterfinal battle he had against
Willstrop and the virtual walkover Ricketts had. Comments like directed
towards Peter Nicol NEVER happen.

Players ranked 17+
There’s always some upsets in the first round of a tournament,
particularly against the players seeded 9 to 16. There were none in Saudi.
Poor effort from the players ranked 17+ (including me).

SquashTalk Forum

if you would like to discuss our columns or introduce questions
or comments, please email us at
We will post the good comments and question here on our SquashTalk
column together with our responses. We hope to get a good dialogue
All materials © 1999-2005. Communicate with us at
by Squashtalk LLC, 6 Franklin Place, PO Box 2918, Acton MA 01720 USA, Editor
and Publisher Ron Beck,
Graphics editor Debra Tessier
comments, ideas, contributions and feedback to the webmaster.
Global Gallery Articles Copyright © 1999-2005 by Martin Bronstein
SquashTalk, all rights reserved, may not be reproduced in any form
except for one-time personal use.