England’s Nick Matthew is confirmed as the new world number one in the January Dunlop PSA Men’s World Squash Rankings, published by the Professional Squash Association.
The 30-year-old from Sheffield rounded off the most successful year of his career in devastating style this month – firstly by winning the Saudi PSA World Open to become England’s first ever world champion, then by clinching the final PSA Super Series title of the year at the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in New Delhi.
“It’s been a dream year,” admitted Matthew, who underwent career-threatening shoulder surgery in 2008 – and bounced back in 2010, not only winning two gold medals in the Commonwealth Games in October, but picking up seven PSA World Tour titles, including PSA Super Series trophies at the North American Open, the Sky Open in Egypt, theAustralian Open in Canberra, before the PSA Masters in India.
The year has been defined by the rivalry between Matthew and Ramy Ashour, the 23-year-old Egyptian who, after beginning the year as number one, then replacing the Englishman at the top of the rankings in September, now slips to second place behind Matthew.
But Ashour, despite an injury which prevented him from competing in the PSA Masters, still finished the year at the top of the 2010 PSA Super Series Rankings after reaching the final in all but one of the eight events in which he competed.
While Egypt’s Karim Darwish retains his third position, England’s James Willstrop moves up to fourth place after finishing as runner-up in both the World Open in Saudi Arabia and the PSA Masters in India.
Egypt’s four times world champion Amr Shabana also rises in the new list, to No5, while Frenchman Gregory Gaultierslips to sixth.
But Egypt’s 19-year-old Mohamed El Shorbagy – the youngest player in the world top 40 – continues his charge up the list by securing a career-high No9 ranking.
Daryl Selby also ends the year on a high, jumping three places to No10 to ensure that four Englishmen begin 2011 in the world top ten.
But Egypt now boasts a remarkable seven players in the top 20 after a stunning leap of 11 places by Hisham Mohd Ashour. The 28-year-old from Cairo – Ramy Ashour‘s older brother – celebrates a career-best 18th place after battling through to the PSA Masters semi-finals as the 14th seed.
January 2011 top 20 (inc. points average):
|9||||Mohamed El Shorbagy||EGY||416|
|12||||Laurens Jan Anjema||NED||384|
|13||||Wael El Hindi||EGY||369|
|14||||Mohd Azlan Iskandar||MAS||366|
|18||||Hisham Mohd Ashour||EGY||272|