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MY GAME: Ali Farag: Parts 1, 2, 3 & 4

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Part 4

Extract from Squash Player Magazine (PDF)
 
Part 3

Do you have favourite shots where you are trying to set up these opportunities?
The straight drive is always going to be the number one shot. A good straight line cannot be intercepted but any other shot, no matter how good it is, can be intercepted.

So when rallies get messy you straighten up and rebuild? Are you doing that continually throughout the match to repair your rallies?
Absolutely. When I first started on Tour, when the rally got frenetic, I just kept at it. It was inexperience. You have to reset the rally sometimes when you are out of position. You need to just lift the ball once (better in a straight line rather than cross court) and go back to square one rather than pace, pace, pace without accuracy. Iíd rather play this one shot to reset the rally and then start from scratch.

As the match went on today you played more lobs. Is that because the ball is cooler?
Yes, so if you hit it harder and lower it doesnít reach the back corners. At the same time, Nicky [Muller] likes to guess a lot, especially when I am in the front corners, so I started to go for the body shot down the middle of the court and to lob. If I play a straight drive or a cross court, it becomes a 50/50 shot, because he may be there [because heís guessed correctly] so I would rather lob it and see the next one. I knew he was tired, so I would rather not lose the rally than risk it by going for a winner. The longer it goes on the better it is for me, so why take the risk? Just lob it or hit it hard down the middle

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COMING UP:
Part 4: Ali on Ibrahim and Asal

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FROM:
Squash Player magazine 2022 Issue 3
See the full Ali Interview and magazine Contents here.

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Part 2

Extending the rallies with Paul Coll presents another problem because he has improved his game. When you put the ball short, he lobs, so you arenít able to disrupt him by pouncing onto the next shot. He has pushed you back in the court?
The biggest problem is that Paul has really improved on two things. He now knows how to win the rally rather than just getting the ball back Ė and he is moving more efficiently. Even though previously he was fitter than me (and still is), I made him do a lot more work. Now he is moving more efficiently so he doesnít get as tired. When he gets the chance, he can put the ball away. The last few times we played I was not happy with my performance. I would like to get the chance to play him again.

In watching you play him, and I mean this with respect, I thought you had not worked out your game plan?
I do have a game plan but just didnít execute it well. I need to execute better next time. That is why I am eager and excited to play him again.

When I look at your game there seems so much variety that it is hard to work out the game plan structure. Can you explain it for us?
I basically I try to hit good length, mostly straight on the backhand side, then I take the ball early, then try to volley the next one, and do that again and again.

So you play a backhand length, hang in to see if you can volley and once you get that opportunity, that puts you in the driving seat. When you get that volley opportunity where do you place it, short, long or cross court?
That varies from one opponent to another. If I play someone that I have the physical advantage over, I will take it and go to the back again, take it and go to the back again until, I wear them out. If I play with someone I know I can deal with in the front corners I will go short from the very beginning and then read their next shot. This frustrates them.

 
Part 1

I think you are playing better than in 2021. Whatís your view?
I am playing better but I lack consistency which is something Iíve always taken pride in. The US Open was a blip and Chicago [the Windy City Open] another.

You have three guys now vying for the no.1 spot as Mohamed ElShorbagy looks interested again. He has firepower and his forehand is lethal. What do you look out for in playing him?Mohamed is explosive and powerful. If you give him anything loose his body position is very good and he can kill the ball very well. I move efficiently so I try to capitalise on this and extend the rallies hoping that he tires so I have the advantage in the later stages. The beginning of matches are always extremely hard with Mohamed.

The press used to ask Jansher Khan how he would play Chris Dittmar and he would say, ĎI play long gameí.
Ha! The thing with Mohamed is that he can play for two hours so you donít just want to extend the rallies, you have to win them as well. Mohamed is lethal everywhere, especially on the forehand side, so you canít be complacent. Mohamed has it all. He is the one that pushed our generation to be this good.


Ali Farag puts Tarek Momen in the back corner and hangs in to the side looking for the intercept.


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FROM:
An interview in Squash Player magazine 2022 Issue 2
See Contents here
Part 3 coming soon.
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