2024 Reports Round One

R1: Aly Abou Eleinen 3-1 Leonel Cardenas

Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) 3-1 Leonel Cardenas (MEX) 11-13, 11-2, 11-8, 11-6 (74m)

What a Goliath match. No David. Just two Goliath battling away fair and square, 30m first game – I kid you not. Apart from the second game (only 10m), every single rally was a long disputed combat, no prisoners, just sublime squash from both players.

Aly lost a bit of patience – are you suprised?? – at the end of the 1st game, 4 errors in 6 points, but collected the dividend of the hard work in the quick second. But the last two games were pretty tense, intense, with only Leandro Romiglio supporting Leonel! Still a fair crowd, knowledgeable and appreciative of the hard work both players displayed on court.

I feel privileged to be able to watch from a prime position – not to say THE prime position – amazing battles like that one. Incredible athletes.


Leonel is a top player. Last time I checked he was top 25 WR and he just a bronze event. We’re about the same age, and we played a lot in the juniors. He used to be much more physical than I am so he used to beat me physically. But now I know I have the physical capabilities to keep up with him. I’m a bit lighter on court, so I felt that the longer the match went, it was going to be easier for my legs.

The first game I wanted to keep it as long as I could [lasted 30m!] and put a lot of work into his legs. It took a lot of discipline from me, as I had opportunity to go short but I sent it to the back. And later on, during the match, I remembered the opportunities I had in the beginning, and I took them. And it paid off

But it was not fitness, it was not squash, the most of it was mental as well. Playing someone like him, he is so tough, so solid, so hard to break down. So I had to trust myself that I had enough experience, that I had put enough work in the bank to stick in during the match.

When you are tired, and you see Captain Hesham Attar whose been my coach since I started to play professionally, who I could write essays and essays how much he means in my life, and the influence he had in my career, being a lost kid 22 years old on Tour amongst those GIANTS, I didn’t have enough experience and working with him gave tons and tons of experience.

It’s difficult to put into words, but just looking outside and seeing him… And this man’s input between games is just invaluable. I don’t get to travel with him but he’s been keeping up with me, speaking with me before matches, but having him physically with me, along with my parents, it’s obviously AMAZING.

And it’s Eid!

So I’m a good mood!

The day after tomorrow, it’s Karim Abdel Gawad. I used to watch him growing up, I used to watch his matches during History classes when I was younger! Last time we played it was a huge battle in Houston, I lost 11/9 in the 5th, so I’m just going to enjoy it, he is an honest, fair player, who likes to enjoy the game. I like to enjoy the game myself and I’m going to bring it up in a couple of days against him…