Saturday September 15, 2012
Shorbagy wants to forge great rivalry with Mueller
PETALING JAYA: World No. 8 Mohamed El Shorbagy believes that he can forge a great rivalry with Swiss star Nicolas Mueller – similar to that between Nick Matthew and Ramy Ashour.
Three-time British Open champion and reigning world champion Matthew of England is involved in one of the fiercest on-court rivalries with Egpytian maestro Ashour, with the pair having faced each other 18 times on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour.
Ashour, who is widely regarded as one of the most talented players in the world, has won 11 of those duels.
Now the 21-year-old Shorbagy, who first faced Mueller in the semi-finals of the 2008 world junior championship, believes that it’s time for the younger players to carve out their own rivalry.
“I’m good friends with Mueller, having came through the junior ranks together, and I’ve always dreamt about playing against him in the professional tour,” Shorbagy said after beating the 23-year-old Mueller 11-13, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8 in the semi-finals of the CIMB Malaysian Open.
“This was actually my first time playing against him in the professional tour since we graduated from the junior ranks.
“I believe we have a bright future and I would like to see us create a rivalry in the sport, just like that between Ramy and Nick.”
Shorbagy, who is aiming for his first title of the year, was full of praise for Mueller “for giving me one tough fight”.
“It was a really tough match and Nicolas attacked really well. He did not allow me to create much of an opening,” said Shorbagy.
“It’s frustrating to go to five sets but we actually train hard for situations like this and I’m just glad I got through.
“In fact, it’s actually great that both of us, from the same generation, are playing so well. Hopefully there will be even more great matches in the future.”
Mueller, meanwhile, admitted that it was not the best reunion with Shorbagy but conceded that the better player won.
“It was a really good match and I played fairly well in patches but he was the better player in the end as I couldn’t convert the lead into victory,” said world No. 20 Mueller.
“Still, I had a great tournament and I love Malaysia ... I will definitely come back.”