9:29 pm
25 May 2024

Ramy Ashour Confirmed As New World Number One

30 Dec 2009

As expected, Egypt's 22-year-old Ramy Ashour heads the new January 2010 Dunlop PSA Men's World Squash Rankings for the first time - becoming the youngest player to top the list produced by the Professional Squash Association since legendary Pakistanis Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan in the eighties.

Ashour becomes the 15th men's world number one since the rankings were first introduced in the mid-seventies - and the third Egyptian in the past 14 months.

After becoming the youngest ever Men's World Junior (U19) Champion in August 2004 at the age of 16, Ramy Ashour went on to become the first to win it a second time two years later in New Zealand.

The teenager's impact on the senior circuit was no less dramatic: He lifted the trophy in the first PSA World Tour event he participated in - the Athens Open in Greece - and clinched the World Open title last year in only his third appearance in the sport's most prestigious event.

Ashour's exemplary 2009 campaign included appearances in six Tour finals, with title successes in four - including the final two Super Series events of the year last month at the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in India and the Saudi International in Saudi Arabia.

It was Nick Matthew that the Cairo King had to overcome in both the December finals - Ashour surviving the longest battle of his career in a dramatic 110-minute climax in Saudi - and the Englishman also celebrates a career-high world number two ranking next month.

The 29-year-old from Sheffield has enjoyed a remarkable return to form since spending most of last year on the sidelines after undergoing shoulder surgery. In addition to winning the British National title and the World Games gold medal this year, Matthew notched up eight Tour final appearances - in all but one case against expectations - securing his first Qatar Classic crown and his second British Open trophy. The Yorkshireman's new ranking is all the more stunning considering that he was ranked outside the top ten at the beginning of 2009!

Three former world number ones occupy the positions behind Ashour and Matthew - Egyptians Amr Shabana and Karim Darwish at three and five, respectively, and Frenchman Gregory Gaultier at No4.

But Englishman Peter Barker has much to celebrate in the New Year in a career-best sixth place. The left-hander from London clinched the 13th Tour title of his career at the Santiago Open in Spain in November - but, more pertinently, achieved unexpected semi-final berths in the end-of-the-year Qatar Classic and PSA Masters.

England team-mate Adrian Grant, also from London, rises two places to No10 to begin a New Year in the top ten for the first time after celebrating his first Super Series semi-final appearance - at his 48th attempt - in the Saudi International.

Pakistan will now be represented in the top 20 in the New Year following teenager Aamir Atlas Khan's four-place leap to No19. The 19-year-old from Peshawar celebrated surprise quarter-final finishes in both the Qatar Classic and Saudi International.

January top 20 (inc. points average):

1 [5] Ramy Ashour EGY 1184
2 [4] Nick Matthew ENG 1078
3 [3] Amr Shabana EGY 951
4 [2] Gregory Gaultier FRA 791
5 [1] Karim Darwish EGY 721
6 [7] Peter Barker ENG 557
7 [6] James Willstrop ENG 555
8 [8] David Palmer AUS 513
9 [9] Thierry Lincou FRA 478
10 [12] Adrian Grant ENG 397
11 [10] Wael El Hindi EGY 354
12 [13] Alister Walker ENG 336
13 [11] Daryl Selby ENG 327
14 [14] Laurens Jan Anjema NED 310
15 [20] Mohamed El Shorbagy EGY 309
16 [18] Stewart Boswell AUS 281
17 [16] Mohd Azlan Iskandar MAS 277
18 [15] Cameron Pilley AUS 276
19 [23] Aamir Atlas Khan PAK 250
20 [19] Ong Beng Hee MAS 248