The nervous shrug of the shoulders when addressed to as a legend may show Amr Shabana’s humility. But the four-time World Open champion is aware that he is equipped to bring about a positive change in squash.
The 30-year-old Egyptian, who took over as the Professional Squash Association (PSA) president in March, insists he will strive to maintain high standards on and off the court.
But won’t striking a balance between administrative responsibilities and competing at the highest level be difficult?
“It’s not hard,” he says. “When you are playing at the highest level, you are there till the last day. You see the good and the bad things and sometimes you get frustrated because you want things to improve. Now, I have the opportunity to do that,” he adds.
Shabana showed he hadn’t lost his touch when he bagged his fourth World Open crown last month with a straight games win over compatriot Ramy Ashour.
And despite a troubled shoulder, he is ready to defend the PSA Masters crown when the tournament gets underway at the Bombay Gymkhana from Saturday.
The Egyptian, who has held the title for three years as the tournament hasn’t been held since 2006, feels a lot depends on how he starts. “The Masters has one of the strongest fields and to succeed, one has to win five matches. But I am currently thinking of the first round and will take it from there.”
While the player in Shabana is focused on the tournament, the administrator in him is aware of the opportunity to spread the sport in India, and hopes that the return of top-flight squash to Mumbai after 12 years would prove to be beneficial.
“It is nice to see India come back into the Major’s scene. It’s great to have different
countries hosting Majors and it is important for the game to have India on the map,” he added.