It sure is good to be Marwan Elshorbagy right now.
The Egyptian squash star is making his top-five debut this week in the world rankings after rising to No5 in the new charts released on April 1, thanks to his runner-up showing at the Windy City Open last month.
The 23-year-old is also positioned nicely at No5 in the Road to Dubai standings, with the top eight coming to the Emirates for the season-ending PSA World Series Finals, taking place from June 6-10 at the Dubai Opera.
Marwan, the younger brother of Mohamed Elshorbagy, who lost his No1 ranking this week to slip down to No3, paid a visit to Dubai last week to check out the host venue along with some of the city’s most iconic sites.
“The PSA Dubai World Series Finals is the climax to the international squash season – the biggest moment of the year for squash players and we were thrilled when the event came to Dubai last year,” said Marwan.
“While I didn’t qualify last year my brother Mohamed told me how amazing it was, and since then I’ve worked hard to make sure I finished in the top eight in the rankings and qualified for the event.
“After looking at some of the amazing venues around Dubai over the last two days, I feel honoured that we will be the first sportsmen and women to compete in such an iconic place as the Dubai Opera, and we are very excited about what this will do for the sport of squash.
“Dubai has an incredible reputation for hosting world-class events, and we are pleased to be part of this. We know there is a rich history of squash in Dubai and we are excited about playing a part in its future.”
The gap between the Elshorbagy brothers keeps getting smaller and smaller and not just because Marwan is closing in on Mohamed in the rankings. Last February, Marwan beat his 26-year-old brother for the first time in his career at the Windy City Open.
It was an emotional moment for the siblings and one that was replayed on screens the world over.
The countdown to the PSA Dubai World Series Finals is on in earnest with the women’s field finalised following the Allam British Open last month, and the men’s line-up set to be locked in following the El Gouna Squash International taking place in Egypt from April 7-14.
Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad is at the top of the Road to Dubai standings with new world No1 Gregory Gaultier right behind in second and Mohamed Elshorbagy in third.
With an equal prize purse of $160,000 on offer in both the men’s and women’s tournaments, the five-day event will bring together the cream of squash talent – with players playing a round robin best-of-three series for a place in the knockout semi-finals.
Tickets for the event are available to purchase via www.dubaiopera.com or from the Dubai Opera Box Office.
The World Series Finals, staged last year at the foot of Burj Khalifa, comes to Dubai following an agreement between the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and the Dubai Sports Council, facilitated by Falcon and Associates. As part of a two-year agreement, the 2018 tournament will also be held at Dubai Opera from June 5-9.