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Ghosal all set for PSA Master

Five-time national squash champion Ritwik Bhattarcharya and Saurav Ghosal will be the Indian representatives at the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters 2009, scheduled in Mumbai from December 5, reports Moonmoon Ghosh.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2009 00:20 IST
Moonmoon Ghosh

Five-time national squash champion Ritwik Bhattarcharya and Saurav Ghosal will be the Indian representatives at the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters 2009, scheduled in Mumbai from December 5.

With a format similar to the recently-concluded tennis Masters, the tournament will include the world’s top 32 players, based on their ranking points this year.

Gregory Gaultier (France), Amr Shabana (Egypt), Karim Darwish (Egypt), Nick Matthew (England), Ramy Ashour (Egypt), James Willstrop (England) and David Palmer (Australia) are among the top names that will participate.

Australia’s Cameron Pilley, 15th in the current PSA rankings, will be Ghosal’s opponent in the first round, while Bhattacharya will play Alister Walker from England.

A confident Ghosal said: “Hopefully, I can go out and win. The top-ranked players will be the main challengers.” Admitting that competition would be intense, the Indian said he’d “be extremely surprised if someone out of the top 5-6 players doesn’t win”.

Ghosal said playing such an important tournament in India would lead to greater crowd support for the home players. “But it can also bring you down because the pressure can get to you,” he said.

Bhattacharya, currently ranked 75th in the world, is a wildcard entry.

He agreed with Ghosal: “Anyone in the top eight can win. It is great for world squash as there is no single player who can dominate. The matches will be won in a matter of few points.” The PSA Masters is being held after a hiatus of two years and will offer the highest prize money for a squash tournament in India.

“Though the federation has done a lot, a proactive and hands-on approach also needs to be adopted. “Schools need to get involved for children to take up squash at a young age,” said Ghosal while calling for an increase in sponsorship and funds. There could be another alternative as well. “I’ve to be the world champion for squash to become popular,” said Ghosal with a disarming smile.

As success breeds popularity, Ghosal couldn’t have put it across more emphatically.