2023 Reports 2023 Round One

R1: The King of Touch is back – Karim 3-1 Auguste

Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1 Auguste Dussourd (FRA)  9-11, 11-0, 13-11, 11-5 (53m)

Former World No.1 and World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad made his long-awaited return to the PSA World Tour after a 10-month spell on the sidelines as he came back from a game down to overcome Frenchman Auguste Dussourd.

Gawad has had a hurrendous time with injury over the past two and a half years. A heel issue has seen the talented Egyptian unable to play his best squash, leading him to slip down from his position inside the world’s top five to his current ranking of No.19. His last appearance on the PSA Tour resulted in a last 16 exit at the PSA World Championships last May and, before today, the 31-year-old hadn’t stepped back onto court on the tour since then.

However, regular trips to Germany for treatment in the intervening months have resurrected his career and Gawad ensured that he would make a triumphant return to injury after completing a 9-11, 11-0, 13-11, 11-5 win over World No.27 Dussourd.

After falling a game behind following a strong start from his opponent, Gawad showed flashes of the ability that took him to World No.1 six years ago as he inflicted a ‘bagel’ upon his opponent in the second game in 3minutes 30s. He then showed another side to his game, displaying a fighting spirit to overturn a game ball and take the third.

He was in full flow again in the fourth to seal the win, and after a few minutes interuption for a self inflicted injury to the Frenchman, he set up a mouthwatering second round fixture with England’s No.5 seed Mohamed ElShorbagy.


In the third, I get a game ball, and I make three unforced errors in a row. It might look easy but when you have in front of you someone of Karim’s calibre, it sort of crosses your mind all the time. I have game ball, and I look at him, it’s Karim Abdel Gawad man, and I cannot forget about it, I start thinking, and I force a shot I shouldn’t have forced, just because it’s Karim I’m playing…

Always complicated those matches. I didn’t get on court thinking ‘he doesn’t have any matches in the legs, I’m the favourite’. For me he was the man, his talent, even without any matches, he never based his squash on his physical abilities anyway. And you can see it clearly in the 2nd, I lose a bit of my length, 3 min, wham bam thank you Gawad!

I would say there are what, one, two players able to play such a squash. As I told him, we haven’t seen him for so long and I was so happy to get to watch him play again. Sure, disapointed I’m the one losing against him, but I wish truly the best for him, I hope he’s going to come back to his best level, the Tour needs him, and I for one admire him immensely.


“I’m really happy to be back on court.

“Playing Auguste in the first round is very tough. I haven’t played for so long, so I wouldn’t say I had a lot of pressure, but there was a bit coming back on court and 10 months off is a long time for anyone. I’m glad I’m playing again and enjoying myself here.

“It wasn’t easy but I’ve focused on coming back, training well and looking after my body over the past couple of months. I have some people that I have to thank because without them I wouldn’t be back on court here.

“My physio has been travelling with me to Germany every couple of weeks for rehab and injections. I also want to thank Omar Abdel Aziz and my fitness coach of course for the hard times they’ve had with me in the last couple of months.

“After the first game I just wanted to win the second one so badly. I didn’t want to be 2-0 down and I just focused on each point. I forgot to say thank you to my family and my wife, she would kill me if I didn’t mention her!”