Gregory Gaultier
3-0  Omar Mosaad (Egy) 11-6, 11-7, 12-10
GREG, ENFIN, TRANQUILLE. GREG, TRANQUILLE, ENFIN …
He’s got it. After so many years – 2006, Al-Ahram – the Kid as I used to
call him is now World Champion, and has gone back to the World number 1
spot in the same token.
Was he happy. Oh yes…
He was calm today. He was focused. And he played extremely well
especially in the first game, where he basically killed Omar with a mid
pace tight to the wall, preventing the Hammer of Thor to attack for the
whole game. 21m of a gruelling controlled squash that Greg takes, 11/6.
second game will be more on Omar’s terms. Advised by Shabana, I would
guess he told him to put more oumf in his game, speed up the pace and
hit hard – which the Hammer did – the Egyptian caused more troubles to
the French, great start 4/0 – probably Greg starting to think as well,
bless him. He shouldn’t do that…
Greg is down 3/7, and basically, quietly, relentlessly, will frustrate
the Egyptian, accepting the fight, both players taking their space, will
score 8 points to take the second game in 18m! Funny, when we arrived in
St Georges for the tournament, John Masseralla told me “Greg has got his
head in the perfect place”.
And that’s exactly what I thought in that game. He never opened his
mouth, stayed focused at all times. Old Greg would have lost that game.
be honest, Omar was spotless in the game, didn’t go for his unforced
errors mode, kept cool, clear, fair, focus. He never put a foot wrong,
tried and found solutions, varied pace and angles. It was excellent
squash indeed. But it was Greg, 11/7 in 18m…. 2/0 up…
Was he going to choke? Again? He zooms up, 4/1, 7/4. The French camp is
vocal, especially when Omar claws back to 7/7. 8/8. Omar is going to
take the game, 10/8.
Or is he?
Greg won’t have it. Not this time Josephine. Go away Al-Ahram Ghosts,
Bermuda Fantômes, Rotterdam Demons, Manchester Shadows. This time, he
wants the Light.
And the Doomed Frenchman scores the next three points to take the game
12/10, and the match, 3/0. Finally, Tranquil.
late than never…
It’s such a relief, it’s unbelievable, there are no words that can
describe this feeling.
Since I was a kid it was always my dream to win this tournament. Maybe
in the past I put too much pressure on myself. I remember my first
experience at 23-years-old in front of the pyramids in Egypt. I had five
match balls and I remember at that point I started to feel like a kind
of asthma. My head was shaky and frozen. I couldn’t finish off the match
but you always learn from losses and it was an experience.
I lost four times and I kept wondering if it was ever going to happen, I
thought, maybe something or somebody is against me you know?? I just
kept on believing in myself, kept on working hard. I was always
What was the difference this time? It’s because it was in
came here two times in a row last year and the year before. I was
invited by the Khan family to play some exhibitions at the start of
promoting the event with Amr Shabana to talk to sponsors, to try and
encourage people to actually sponsor the event. The Khan did just such a
great job, they made me feel at home. And even this week, I arrived I
was not at my best, and they took care of me, and when people make you
feel that way, you cannot not win!!
Our hearts were broken, all the French people and all around the world.
But so many people came to talk to me and support me about it, we got
emails, texts. There should be peace in this world and respect. Whoever
you are you have to give respect to people. There should be no terror
and today we put on a great fight, but it was a fight with respect on
and off court.
team did an unbelievable job. They made me feel warm and when I got here
I felt a bit sick. All the friends I had helped me to go through this
For seven days I was struggling but after my quarter-final I started to
feel better. I got rid of it and they made me feel so comfortable that I
just had to remain focused on my squash. I felt good, it felt like home
and I’m surrounded with friends. You can only play well in these kinds
This kind of events only can happen with the passion of a lot of people,
the Khan family, the sponsors, the volunteers, PSA, the medias and
SquashSite, the French Federation, my sponsors of course!
little thought for all the people that coached me over the years, Renan
Lavigne, but also André Delhoste, Fred Lecomte, Thomas Adrians, all the
people from the French training centre CREPS aix, Mathieu Benoît,
Caroline Glain and also my mates and sparring partners from Set Aix, and
the Arcucci family!
And of course, my family, my wife, my kid… I love everybody…
done it. HE HAS DONE IT." Renan Lavigne, French
"It's been a long road..." Mathieu Benoit, Greg's mental coach
been a great week for me, I think I did a good job, I played very well
today…. But I had no legs left at the end!!!
I was pretty nervous for my match against Adnan, went 2/1 down, and
really had to find my squash to win this one. Then Borja played so well
in the first game, I had really to dig in to win the match 3/1. Then
Ramy, well, it was very hard 2 first games, then he changed his tactic
in the next two, I just didn’t compete, and then I was down again in the
5th, but he got injured and couldn’t finish really.
Tarek… We have been playing each other since we are 13, so many matches
in Egyptian tournaments, in the British Junior Open, we always have
great battles, and huge 3/2, and that’s what I was expecting yesterday.
But he was too tired I think from the previous matches. I know he had
some pretty bad results, so it was great to see him reaching the semis,
he deserves to be there, and I know he’s going to have many more great
for this match, I never had to play 6 matches in a row like that, I
don’t have that kind of experience, whereas Greg had! I tried to manage
my mental and physical resources tonight, but Greg put me under too much
Happy with what I did though…
I have to thank my coaches – my brother Mohamed and also Islam Hany,
Hossam Shaddad, our physio, my Dad of course. Also Omar Elborolossy, my
club Heliopolis, and my sponsors, Head and Awesome.
Now a few days back home in Egypt to rest, and off to Hong Kong…
He’s done it.
A bit difficult to realise that he has…
saw some signs this summer, his squash had never been better, his
physical preparation was very strong – thanks to Thomas Adrians with
whom we have several texts every day to make sure we are on the same
wave, that Greg doesn’t do too much. For example, we had to stop him
from touching a racquet for 3 days after Qatar. That took some
persuasion I can tell you that!
So the signs were there.
Today, we were scared, yes. Not from Greg’s side, because we knew how
prepared and actually relaxed he was. But weary of Omar, who is a player
that has improved so much these past few weeks. But Greg was both
intense, and relaxed…
I have only been with Greg for 3 years, my work with him was focusing on
the control and management of his emotions, and putting all those
emotions in the striking of the racquet, in each shot. And a few
technical details as well, a few more to work on – I’m not telling you.
He knows himself by heart, he’s got some temper, and he is not a bundle
of laugh every day. But he’s got a big heart, and basically, he was born
for that. He was born to be a Squash Champ. I remember the first time I
saw him, his dad was carrying his bag, French Champs U12, and I just saw
him, and told him “Impressive”. I didn’t know much about squash then.
But I knew he was exceptional, and one of a kind.
We need to thank his coaches, Fred Lecomte, Dédé Delhoste, Thomas his
fitness coach I mentioned. A big role was played by the French
Federation and especially Bertrand Bonnefoy, our Technical Director in
the years 2000, who is at the source of the French success, who
basically taught us was High Performance was all about.
Of course, we want to thank the CREPS Aix – where the French boys are
bases, near Aix. There is a staff there working very hard, with
sometimes limited means, and we do everything from the media side of
things to the cleaning of the place!!!
So this result is a reward for everybody…