Al Tamimi is ready, armed and dangerous
Qatar’s No. 1 has triggered alarm bells for other players with a scintillating show in the World Squash Championship.
The PSA (Professional Squash Association) ranking for Abdullah Al Tamimi is No. 47. Judging by the manner in which he played the World Squash Championships in Doha in the last few days, he merited a top 20 ranking. He toppled two top 25 players in the first and second rounds and then had the World No. 3 Egypt’s Tarek Momen on the mat for a considerable period of time in the pre-quarterfinals. Had he not suffered an injury and had just a little more energy in his reserves, he could very well have toppled the Egyptian and sealed his place in the last eight.
Tarek Momen who was at the receiving end of Tamim’s crafty play on the glass court at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex on Monday sounded a warning.
“This is just the beginning for Abdullah. I played against him in the US Open and in Doha and he’s not going to be easy to beat in the future. He’s going to be a tough contender on the tour,” said Momen who was stretched to five games in both the tournaments he mentioned.
Al Tamimi’s coach Geoff Hunt said, “He has a very good year coming up. He can win matches and he has a great chance of getting up the rankings”.
Al Tamimi has shown that he has covered much ground even though he lingers in the 40s in the PSA rankings. Maybe he is testimony to the fact that numbers are just that and really don’t reflect what a player is capable of.
The performance in the last few months has seen Qatar’s No. 1 player arming himself with new ammunition. At the top of that list is his calm confidence. In the matches against Gregoire Marche and Mathieu Castagnet there was no evidence of anxiety or panic attack. Maybe it’s his stint with former World Open winner and Australian squash player Rodney Martin who is now based in New York.
Tamimi said, “My game has changed a lot after I’ve been training with Rodney Martin. I used to be very aggressive, wanting to attack all the time. Now, I’ve learned to slow down my game and it’s bearing fruit. I am beginning to enjoy playing like this,” he said.
This is the approach he goes into the new season with and is more than ready for the challenges.
“I’ve been playing good squash off late, so the next season will be interesting. I’ve always backed myself against the top players and look forward to playing against them,” he said.
Hunt pointed out to other key factors that had changed in Tamimi’s approach which could pilot him to greater feats in the coming year.
“He’s in a very good head space. He’s matured a lot and is understanding the game well. He’s putting into practice all that we’ve tried to get him to do in training over these past few years and his game plan’s improved,” said Hunt.
Exciting times certainly lie ahead for Qatar’s No. 1 squash player. And by the time the next tournament international tournament comes around at home in the next year, Tamimi will be ready to go the distance.