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Trading Secrets: Squash Greats Recall Their Toughest Duels by Rod Gilmour

Release date: 01st November, 2015
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: 12.99
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ONE for the connoisseurs of the squash court and also anyone who enjoys a liberal dose of human drama and humour, this thoroughly readable compilation does what it says on the tin.

There’s the classic race against time in a chapter entitled From Hospital Bed to Glasgow Gold – featuring Sheffield’s Nick Matthew, who pipped bitter rival James Willstrop for the Commonwealth Games title in 2014.

Matthew embarked on a breathless six-week recovery programme following surgery, commandeering Jessica Ennis-Hill’s coveted English Institute of Sport ’game-ready’ knee-icing machine because ”she was heavily pregnant... and didn’t really need hers!”

Deeply honoured to be Team England’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony, Matthew was accompanied by his loyal physio Jade, carrying a seat, so he could rest ”every time we walked 10 metres as we wedged towards Celtic Park... I think some of the athletes behind me thought I was some kind of diva!”

Both the author and respected coach Malcolm Willstrop are in awe of Ramy Ashour.

Gilmour lauds: “The finest rackets player I have ever seen” and Willstrop, in his foreword, describes the Egyptian as “the most original player ever to have lived”.

Once asked in a video interview to reveal something ’new’ of himself, Ashour countered the intrusion with the banality it deserved. “I used to eat dust off the balcony when I was young,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean it’s healthy and it doesn’t improve your drop shots or your lobs, I’ve stopped now.”

It’s impossible not to warm to Ashour in Ramy’s Resurrection as he beats Mohamed ‘The Beast’ Elshorbagy to win the 2014 World Championship in Doha, despite preparation plagued by injury.

Squash, more than a game? It is to the handsome 28-year-old from Cairo, who says: “It teaches you discipline and commitment, self-respect, humility – all of which you can use in your social life.”


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