“To win my first tournament in Egypt means everything to me,” said the Egyptian Squash player Marwan ElShorbagy, after securing his first World Serious title at El Gouna International Squash Open against US Open winner Ali Farag last April.
The 24-year-old ElShorbagy on Sunday kept World No 3 at PSA Men’s World Rankings after reaching the level following his victory after beating his older brother, World No 1, Mohamed in the semi-finals. The win led ElShorbagy to reach a high point in his career securing World No 3. in World Men’s World Rankings.
“I am really happy, I never won a big tournament in my life,” said ElShorbagy, describing the final game against Ali Farag at El Gouna Squash tournament as “a tough one.”
“I kept thinking, while playing, that I should be more patient to get what I am looking for,” noted Marwan, adding “therefore, the win is a significant step in my career.”
ElShorbagy was born in Alexandria and started his career at the age of eight. He got passionate about squash because of his brother, who according to him, the reason behind his enthusiasm for the sport. “I was a spoiled boy, I was not thinking of playing a sport, but watching Mohamed achieving a win every day inspired me to catch up on his path.”
It has never been easy for their parents to often watch their sons competing against each other in squash courts, however the two siblings enjoy a unique relationship, that according to ElShorbagy, “difficult to understand”. He noted “whatever we go through, no one can understand, whether in court or outside it.”
However, things were never easy for the two athlete’s parents, especially their mother. “It is hard for her to watch us competing in a court,” said ElShorbagy.
“especially that the competition is taking more advanced levels now, we are facing each other in semi-finals and finals stages of each tournament, I am World No 3 and he is No 1. It is getting harder for our parents than before,” said ElShorbagy.
ElShorbagy, who lives in England, claimed his first win over his brother, Mohamed, during February’s 2017 Windy City Open, dashing his sibling’s hopes in winning the 2017 Professional Squash Association (PSA).
“He taught me a lot; it not easy to treat someone who helped you to reach what you are now and then you beat him,” noted ElShorbagy as he laughed and said, “it is like you are ungrateful.”
However, apparently, they got used to meeting each other in tournaments. “Actually, I was not supposed to beat him at that time, he is the world No1, defeating me 10 times, but now it is different,” note ElShorbagy.
He added, “the first time I defeated Mohamed was in February 2017, it was so hard for me. Mohamed is World No 1 and taking something huge away from him was not easy at all. I got very emotional after beating him.”
“During matches you will never feel we are siblings, as we become just two players who are eager to win,” said ElShorbagy, adding that both of them acquired this after years of professional playing.
“We are two athletes who work hard to do their job. At first of course it was very hard, we played against each other 14 times, we went through every kind of situations, finals we experienced everything,” however, he added, “it is still not easy, but we got used to it.”
“In the court we are fighting, competing in a strong spirit to win, but off court, we are good friends more than brothers”, adding that Mohamed is always advising him to develop his skills and playing technique, so am I. “Sometimes when one of us is not feeling good, we hide it from each other, especially if we are playing together.”
“My parents were looking for a sport in which we could become champions,” said ElShorbagy, adding “I left my family and friends, to achieve what I want, moving to England was a matter of fact to me the way that changed my life, to become a different person who has to take charge of his own responsibilities, I knew I had talent, but I never worked hard for it.”
On whom he looks up to and wishes to be like, “I always look for being like my brother, not as a role model, but he inspires me a lot. He achieved too much, but does not get the credit he deserves, I am sure he will get it one day.”
When ElShorbagy feels under pressure in his life he forgets everything in the squash court. “If anyone has problems or troubles in his/her personal life. Trust me, for me being in a squash court makes it all go away in one second.”
He considered squash as everything, saying “squash is my life and I appreciate having this talent, getting around the world and meet people from different cultures. It is an amazing life and I feel lucky to have it.”
“As an athlete you always go through battles,” said ElShorbagy, adding “this is why I am sitting here,” referring to his partaking in El Gouna International Squash Open 2018, adding, “it only makes me stronger.” After every win, he feels that another challenge is waiting to come his way.
“You go from a battle to battle; you never stay on the top,” ElShorbagy concluded, adding “people are always doubting what they are doing and achieving, as I kid I was never expected to be here, but know I am here, and I have to be blessed every time I walk into a squash court. As for the people who are watching me and respect what I am doing, I really appreciate all of that.”
He said, “the Squash court represents a meaning of “hope” to me. I advise young athletes to be the “best versions of themselves,” as a kid I have always been compared to my brother’s story, but now I have my own. So have your own one too.”