Ali Farag will go into the DPD Open as the No.1 seed, and the World Number 1. The Egyptian is excited at the prospect of doing so.
The DPD Open is a brand new tournament to the PSA World Tour for the 2018-19 season, and it will be held in Eindhoven this week.
“I am really looking forward to playing the DPD Open,” Farag said before the tournament.
“It’s not often at this stage that we get to play a new tournament in a place that we’ve never been before, so I am definitely very excited from that standpoint.
“We also don’t have that many big tournaments in Europe apart from in Switzerland and England, so it’s really exciting to play in front of a huge market for squash enthusiasts.”
Ali Farag in action against Joel Makin at the Grasshopper Cup last month
This will be just the fourth major men’s tournament be held in Europe this season, after the Grasshopper Cup, Canary Wharf Classic and Channel VAS Championships. The British Open will be the fifth when it takes place in Hull next month.
Farag is looking forward to going to the Netherlands once again, a country where he has tasted success in the past.
“I actually do have a very happy memory in Netherlands, winning the Dutch Junior Open back in 2008 at U17 level,” he said
“I have also played the Dutch League a couple of years back, and the Mijs family have made it an enjoyable experience for me.”
The Egyptian was crowned World Number 1 and World Champion in the space of two days at the start of March.
Farag lifting the World Championship trophy in Chicago
However, the month ended with a surprise defeat to countryman Mohamed Abouelghar in the quarter finals of the Grasshopper Cup in Switzerland.
“Yeah March is definitely my happiest career month to date, and I don’t think it can ever be surpassed, as I achieved my two childhood goals in a matter of 2 days,” Farag explained.
“I actually did not feel mentally tired in Zurich; it was just that the draw was not easy and Abouelghar played better than me on the day. This is making me even hungrier though to get going in Netherlands.”
The World Number 1 is not looking too far ahead in this tournament, though, as he knows whoever he plays in the second round, it will be one of the most experienced men on the PSA World Tour, in either Cam Pilley or James Willstrop.
“Well I only look forward to the 1st match, and whether it be Pilley or Willstrop, it would be a big threat already for a 2nd round match, especially if it’s James and he’s having one of his good movement days,” he said.
After his performances at the start of the year, and moving into the No.1 spot in the World Rankings, Farag knows he has to maintain his level to stay there, especially with Mohamed ElShorbagy aiming to fight back and reclaim the World No.1 spot he held for 40 months.
“Yes I am sure the end of season will be a big fight for that number 1 spot, but it’s been one of my goals to since the summer to try and go into the next summer at the top, so will do everything I can to achieve that goal,” Farag admitted.