11 POINTS WITH
Getting closer to the top ...
Interview by ALAN
Simon Rösner is our number two seed this year. After many years
of rising up the rankings, he is on the verge of breaking into
the elite leading pack. Here he tells Alan Thatcher about life
in Germany and on the PSA World Tour.
Simon, it’s great to see you back at Canary Wharf. Last year was
a big breakthrough event for you, beating James Willstrop and
Peter Barker to reach the final against Nick Matthew. What are
your reflections on your performances here last year?
Really good. I love the event and the whole atmosphere down at
the East Wintergarden. I can't wait to be back playing in one of
the very best events on the tour.
2: Since then you have carried on the good form and arrive
here as the number two seed and ranked seven in the world. What
do you think are the main things you have learned, or improved
on, in the past couple of years?
There are always small adjustments to technique, tactics and
movement, I think. Overall, though, I think it is more about
playing on such a high level at tournaments, getting used to the
pace, gaining experience and getting stronger mentally.
3: How’s your body holding up to the constant grind of
training, travel and playing tournaments?
Really good I must say (knock on wood:-). I haven't been
seriously injured throughout my career, which allowed me to keep
training hard and also not having to skip tournaments through
injury. For a tall guy like me, it’s definitely something I can
be proud of, especially as that means that I must be doing
things right with my daily training routine.
4: You were number one seed in the Swedish Open and lost a
tight semi-final to Tarek Momen in 91 minutes. It was an
all-Egypt final, with Karim Abdel Gawad winning his first major
title. What are your views on Egypt’s current dominance of the
It is very impressive. The amount of players that Egypt produces
is just phenomenal. If you go to Egypt you see hundreds of kids
playing. Their style of play is so different and unique.
Something that we can only dream of I guess.
You had a massive battle with Gregory Gaultier in the Tournament
of Champions in New York, losing 12-10 in the fifth after 78
minutes. This seemed to be clear evidence of how much closer you
are getting to the very top guys. Would you agree?
Yeah, I’m getting closer and closer. It is a bit frustrating
though, that I haven’t managed to actually beat one of the top
four guys in the last and this season. The loss to Nick Matthew
at the Netsuite Open in San Francisco, where I was up 2-1 and
9-3, really showed me how close I am to beating these guys. Yet
I haven’t managed to beat one of them so I will have to keep
working hard and believe in myself.
6: This year you won your 10th German national title. Are
there lots of younger players coming through to challenge you?
There are a few younger players like Raphael Kandra or Rudi
Rohrmüller. Guys who are hungry to beat me so I have to be
warned all the time. With Rudi taking a game off me and Raphael
making me work 85 tough minutes in the final - we really have
potential in making life harder for England and France at the
European Teams for example.
7: How aware are you of the growth of squash in mainland
Europe? There seem to be lots of exciting new projects in Poland
and many cities in Eastern Europe.
Yes, I think especially in the eastern parts of Europe, squash is gaining
in popularity. I have been playing the Polish play-offs for the
last couple of years and it is amazing to see so many new faces
that love our sport as much as we do. I hope we will see more
and more players coming through from these countries.
8: You have some loyal, long-term sponsors. Please name
them and tell us how your partnerships have evolved over the
A: Yes, absolutely. I am very proud of so much support from all
of them. My equipment sponsor Oliver have supported me for the
last 6-7 years. I am really happy with the rackets, strings,
grips and clothes etc. that they produce.
Also Flyeralarm and
Deine-Eigene-Dose have been my main regional sponsors for the
last five years, which is a big help.
to that I have two very enthusiastic squash players with their
company DRS (Dellenreparatur Service) on board now (Danny
Stepputis and Martin Jäger). They absolutely love the sport and
travel to different PSA events with me. Then there is Lightpower,
who are not only the main sponsor of our Bundesliga team in
Paderborn, but also a sponsor of myself.
On top of that Mercedes-Benz are also supporting me with a very
nice car. Can’t be missed for a German I guess! The Deutsche
Sporthilfe are also on board and have been supporting me for the
past few months. It is really great to have so much support and
I thank every single one of them.
9: What’s a typical training day like for you in
I usually do two sessions a day, depending on my tournament
schedule. I would get up at around 7:30 and start my first
session at around 9 am. Three times a week it would be alongside
my athletic coach Thomas Prange, with whom I have been working
for the last five years.
After a break and lunch I would start again at around 3 pm with
either training with one of my coaches Ronny Vlasaaks / Tomi
Niinimäki, or playing with my training partner Raphael Kandra or
10: It’s always great to see some of the Paderborn club
members coming over to cheer you on. Will we be seeing a big
German Open any time soon?
I have been hoping for this for such a long time and I wish we
will see one soon.
11: If you could say one thing to the IOC to help persuade
them that squash should be in the Olympics, what would it be?
It is the most exciting and intensive sport in the world.
Thank you, Simon. Good luck at Canary Wharf.