imageAfter his latest victory in the PSA Cup in Kuwait, Ramy Ashour has extended his winning streak to seven tournaments and thirty six matches. It seems his rivals are bereft of ideas on how to beat him.

Such is his dominance he seemingly can afford to give his opponents a start of one or two games while gradually warming up to his full playing speed. When this optimum speed is reached the rest of the squash world has few answers to his virtuosity and appear to be more hopeful of a Ramy mental meltdown than winning by their own means. This is not the ideal situation to be in.

The tactic of containment used expertly by Willstrop and Matthew to victories early last year has had little effect recently and as a complete strategy is a little thin of substance and always had questionable longevity.

The real work begins now for the heir apparent. To me, one of the most exciting aspects of professional squash is re-evaluating the tactics used when facing different opponents, especially when they are consistently beating you. This requires a flexible mind, plenty of thoughtful deliberation and potentially a departure from your usual mental approach to the game. Not to mention a bit of hard work too.

Ramy is currently one or two moves ahead of the field and the challenge of finding a strategy to beat a player who plays with such exceptional quality at breakneck speeds is surely the toughest assignment yet seen in professional men’s squash.

In my opinion some interesting areas for the top players to explore must include containment with pace and height, positioning on the T when in front, unconventional shots instead of “traditional” shots in certain areas and the ability to switch tactics during a rally or at any point during a game. In short, to fight fire with fire.

The days where Ramy’s game was new and unique are long behind us, everyone understands his brilliance and players must now find a new way to beat him otherwise he will dominate as Nicol David has done so supremely in the WSA Tour.

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