2024 Reports Round Two

R2: Mostafa Asal 3-2 Gregoire Marche

[2] Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-2 Gregoire Marche (FRA) 11-5, 5-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-5 (59m)

THIS IS NOT A DRILL, MOSTAFA, and you know, when James tells you to play relaxed and calm, it doesn’t mean you can play exhibition shots during a competition!!!

No seriously, I hadn’t seen the Joker play live for a long time, and I was really looking forward to see him on court today. I know, he was tired – I was still sleeping Fram – he smiled after the match – but he got very close to losing a match in 5 he probably could have won in 3.

But as he is a very kind young man, he thought, let’s give my opponent all the chances in the world to come back into the match, and then let’s play silly junior squash and make a lot of errors to give him more and more confidence in his game.


Today, Mostafa was fortunate to get away with murder, and Grégoire will take a lot of positives from that match after his eye surgery at the start of the year. The Frenchman would have certainly signed to take Mostafa to 5 at the start of the tournament!

Still, nice to see Mostafa play without cringing at every contact. I am sooo proud of you, Mostafa, for changing yourself “du tout au tout”. So proud.


Playing against Mostafa requires so much attention, involvement in every shot… It’s been a while since I’ve played at this level. My eyes are not yet 100%, and the more the match progresses, the more tired they get, and if you’re even slightly off, you make mistakes.

Then again, I got off to a bad start, the ball was bouncing a lot. I didn’t think to change the ball when I took the third because I was down 10/6. As a result, I kind of forgot the strategy and to change the ball. It might have helped, but oh well.

He also adds a lot of uncertainty; he never plays the same shot twice, so you need a reaction at the T that is obviously superior to others. And in the 4th and 5th, I couldn’t keep up that accuracy and made unforced errors.

He knows how to take his space, and every time you’re just a bit off in your timing of the shot, you’re in his way, and then, we don’t have the same build, now, do we….

It’s a bit frustrating because I felt he wasn’t at his best today, and there might have been a chance to do something…


“There’s a lot of tournaments happening but when I’m on the court everything is fine, hopefully there’s no issues.

“It’s tournament after tournament and it’s difficult for all of the players, especially me playing every tournament. As you can see I’m calm and I’m trying to treat it like a training period, and I was down playing at home and the crowd gave me a little bit of a boost. It was nice to see my father for the first time in a while, he always picks me up and I love the smiles and emotions after when I see him again.

“It’s a good match, Fares is a tough opponent. You see how strong he is and today Greg [Marche] was really sharp and was going to cause an upset and he’s a really experienced player. Looking forward to tomorrow, for sure.

“The tournaments in Egypt are coming, and I perform well here, so I hope this combo with James Willstrop works, and it’s worked well. All credit to James – he gives me pure squash and it’s a mental side of things to switch and balance.

“I already won the tournament in Florida and have reached the semi-finals, so the results aren’t bad. I’m playing against World No.1s, and hopefully, it will go my way. Thanks to my uncle and my coach; it’s amazing to see them, and thanks to Jimbo for sure.”