Fearless Fares Dessouky had a great end to 2020 when he managed to beat Karim Abdel Gawad, Tarek Momen and Ali Farag in the CIB Black Ball Open. But that’s only the beginning as far as the Alexandrian is concerned …
“I play to be World No.1. This is undoubtedly my main goal and if I want to get there, I will have to beat Ali, Tarek and of course Mohamed and to do this consistently and that is the challenge that awaits me when we get back on tour.
“I started back training last week and everything I am doing is with this goal in my mind. But these guys are all in my way and it is up to me, as I did at the Black Ball, to find a way past them and of course that will not be easy.”
Talking about Mohamed, Fares is looking forward to future battles with the former world number 1.
“In the past Mohamed ElShorbagy has played to defend his position as No.1 and I was always the underdog, so I played with no expectancy and no pressure and sharing a court with Mohamed again is something I am just really looking forward to.
“I am really pleased that I have managed to beat Mohamed back at El Gouna in 2019 and we have always had tough matches and a couple of really hard five-game matches, but I think that when we do play again on the tour things will be different this time around.
“There is just an intensity to the way he moves, the way he hits the ball and how aggressively he plays and how hard he battles, he forces you play to your best every time and gives you nothing, he just really grabs the game by its neck, and I have total respect for him.
“I have always watched him play and I really look forward to his return and am excited about it. He has been so good for squash over the years and we have had some good battles. Funnily enough I was talking with my parents the other day and just saying how much I miss not having Mohamed playing on the tour! So yeah, it will just be great for squash to have him back.
Fares also commented on the ‘infamous’ Qatar semi-final against Paul Coll which cost him a “zero” ranking wise, as he let the match go after a succession of calls that led him to believe he was fighting against two opponents: the ref and Superman…
“I know that what I did was wrong and that I had to pay a price for that, and I have done that, and I proved at the Black Ball that I had used all of that negativity and turned it into a positivity and a driving force to help me going into 2021.
“When I do play Paul again, what will motivate me is that I have complete respect for him, that I know he is one of the toughest competitors on the tour and that I will have to bring my best game to play against him.
“My motivation will be that every time I go on court, I will be giving everything for every minute of my match. After Qatar I think some of the other Egyptian players were not expecting the way I came back at the Black Ball, but I had a point to prove and I did that and now I have moved on.”
To finish, Fares mentioned Ragging Bull Mostafa Asal, the up and coming new Egyptian star.
“I look at where Asal is now and I think there are a lot of similarities to how it was for me when I was starting to breakthrough for the first time before my knee injury.
“He is an exciting player, he is passionate, and he wants it and right now he is playing with no pressure but the big test for him will be how he does when he is not playing in Egypt and when he is not playing in front of his home crowd.
“He has now had some big wins and beaten Paul Coll a couple of times and so now there will be expectancy on him going forward and it will be very interesting to see how he deals with that and that is something I look forward to seeing over the next year or so.
“He is very hungry, and he comes to the court to win and I look forward to playing him.”
Plenty of action to come from Fares, which we will truly and utterly looking forward to…