Greg The Great
So, unless you’ve been living on a desert island with no wifi for the last 6 months you will know what an incredible 2016/17 squash season it has been.
September – January was Karim Gawad’s time. Almost out of nowhere we saw the rise of this phenomenal player. Gawad won The Al-Ahram International in front of the pyramids then followed by The World Championship. The new World Champions also went on to win The Qatar Classic and The Tournament Of Champions in Grand Central Terminal.
Then in stepped Gregory Gaultier. Gaultier has won 7 tournaments this season, including 6 in a row between February and May. He’s won The Swedish Open, Windy City Open in Chicago and The British Open. He then became the first non-Egyptian winner of the El Gouna International, he won The Grasshopper Cup in Zurich and a few days ago won The Bellevue Classic in Seattle, the richest 16 man draw event in PSA history. This was his 40th PSA career title, which is more tournament victories than modern greats like Jonathon Power, David Palmer, Nick Matthew or Amr Shabana ever won.
This has seen Greg go on an incredible 27 PSA match unbeaten run, not to mention becoming the oldest ever World No.1. Let’s have a closer look at these 27 matches:
|May 2017||Ali Farag||W||Bellevue Classic||USA||F||12-10, 12-10, 11-8 (52m)|
|May 2017||James Willstrop||W||Bellevue Classic||USA||sf||11-4, 11-5, 11-8 (42m)|
|May 2017||Tarek Momen||W||Bellevue Classic||USA||qf||11-8, 11-4, 11-7 (47m)|
|May 2017||Omar Mosaad||W||Bellevue Classic||USA||r1||12-10, 11-2, 11-1 (35m)|
|May 2017||Ali Farag||W||Grasshopper Cup||SUI||F||11-8, 11-9, 14-12 (53m)|
|May 2017||Tarek Momen||W||Grasshopper Cup||SUI||sf||11-9, 11-5, 12-10 (51m)|
|May 2017||Simon Rösner||W||Grasshopper Cup||SUI||qf||11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (46m)|
|May 2017||Daryl Selby||W||Grasshopper Cup||SUI||r1||11-4, 11-6, 11-2 (35m)|
|Apr 2017||Karim Abdel Gawad||W||El Gouna International Open||EGY||F||11-6, 11-8, 11-7 (51m)|
|Apr 2017||Marwan Elshorbagy||W||El Gouna International Open||EGY||sf||12-10, 11-4, 11-4 (51m)|
|Apr 2017||Paul Coll||W||El Gouna International Open||EGY||qf||11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 11-6 (72m)|
|Apr 2017||Mazen Hesham||W||El Gouna International Open||EGY||r2||11-2, 11-2, 11-3 (24m)|
|Apr 2017||Marwan Tarek||W||El Gouna International Open||EGY||r1||11-6, 11-2, 11-6 (31m)|
|Mar 2017||Nick Matthew||W||British Open||ENG||F||8-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3 (67m)|
|Mar 2017||Ramy Ashour||W||British Open||ENG||sf||11-9 ret. (20m)|
|Mar 2017||Mathieu Castagnet||W||British Open||ENG||qf||11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (35m)|
|Mar 2017||Cameron Pilley||W||British Open||ENG||r2||11-1, 11-3, 11-2 (31m)|
|Mar 2017||Miguel Rodriguez||W||British Open||ENG||r1||11-5, 11-4, 11-0 (30m)|
|Mar 2017||Marwan Elshorbagy||W||Windy City Open||USA||F||5-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-4 (51m)|
|Mar 2017||Borja Golan||W||Windy City Open||USA||sf||11-6, 15-13, 11-8 (69m)|
|Mar 2017||James Willstrop||W||Windy City Open||USA||qf||11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (41m)|
|Mar 2017||Daryl Selby||W||Windy City Open||USA||r2||11-2, 11-0, 11-1 (16m)|
|Mar 2017||Joe Lee||W||Windy City Open||USA||r1||11-7, 11-7, 11-3 (36m)|
|Feb 2017||Karim Abdel Gawad||W||Swedish Open||SWE||F||7-11, 11-3, 11-0, 11-8 (59m)|
|Feb 2017||Simon Rösner||W||Swedish Open||SWE||sf||11-9, 13-11, 11-8 (58m)|
|Feb 2017||Tarek Momen||W||Swedish Open||SWE||qf||3-11, 7-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-2 (78m)|
|Feb 2017||Joe Lee||W||Swedish Open||SWE||r1||11-4, 11-3, 11-3 (34m)|
22 of the 27 matches he has won 3-0. He won 33 games (out of 85 game played) with scorelines of 11-4 or less. His average game score was 11-8 in his favour. Average match time 41 minutes.
Not only can people not beat him, but he’s made it impossible to even get close to him! Winning 33 out 85 game losing 4 points or less in ridiculous. His error count is low and his mind is controlled and focussed. Over the last 10 years Greg has probably been capable of playing the best quality squash but he would be let down by his wandering concentration and hitting too many errors. As you can see this is what has changed. His squash over the last 4 months has been borderline perfection.
It is also worth mentioning a few other things: In the middle of this run he also won The European Team Championships with France, beating Nick Matthew in the final match.
The World Championships in November, which as we know Gawad won, Greg was forced to withdraw from his Semi-Final match as he sustained a bad injury which kept him out of the tour for a month. We cannot rule out that he could possibly have become World Champion this season too.
Overall – the 2016/17 season, and in particular 2017 has been a pretty good time for the likable Frenchman! May his form and his smiles continue on into next season. He’s wonderful for our game of squash when he’s in this sublime form.
Thanks to squashinfo.com for the result list.