Squash legend Selby bows out at Canary Wharf
By ALAN THATCHER
England squash legend Daryl Selby is aiming to claim as many scalps as possible in his farewell appearance at next week’s Canary Wharf Squash Classic.
Selby, who turned 39 last week, has drawn France’s world No.13 Gregoire Marche in the first round on Sunday and will be aiming for a repeat of last year’s Canary Wharf success when he beat British No.1 Joel Makin on the opening day.
If he wins, he faces Egypt’s No.4 seed Karim Abdel Gawad in the second round on Tuesday.
Although Selby will not be playing in any more of the squash “Majors” after this he still intends to play smaller events in the hope of being selected for England in next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
He has accumulated 111 England caps so far and is expecting to add to that tally in next month’s World Team Championships in Malaysia.
During his career he has reached 51 tournament finals and won 31 of them. In PSA World Tour events he has reached 24 finals and won 13.
Once again, Selby can be guaranteed to draw on the support of a sellout home crowd at the superb East Wintergarden venue on Sunday.
Selby, from Colchester, is looking forward to the occasion. He said:
“This will be my last appearance at Canary Wharf and, in all likelihood, my last major PSA World Tour tournament.
“This will most likely be my final big event and really couldn’t have picked a better one as it’s always been the tournament closest to my heart. It’s not an official retirement; more of a semi-retirement!
“Beating Joel last year was great, but I have had some great matches and battles over the years. I have a distinct memory of winning a massive match against my good friend Borja Golan from Spain (in 2015) in about two hours and completely mucking up the schedule!”
Selby, Golan and James Willstrop (the latter two are both 38) are the three senior citizens of the PSA World Tour and all will be in action at Canary Wharf on Sunday, with four-times champion Willstrop meeting Mohamed Abbouelghar and the Spaniard playing Youssef Soliman in the final match of the day.
After so many marathon matches down the years, Selby is enjoying the shorter, best-of-three games format employed by Canary Wharf during the early rounds.
He confirmed he will be going on court to attack against Marche on Sunday and added:
“Yes, I’ll be going flat out indeed! I do like the best of three these days, I must admit.”
The winners of Sunday’s ties go through to face the top eight seeds in the second round spread over Monday and Tuesday.
The strongest draw in the tournament’s 18-year history highlights Egypt’s dominance of the sport, featuring three world champions, Ali Farag, Tarek Momen and Gawad, plus recent US Open champion Mostafa Asal, who will be making his debut at Canary Wharf after a colourful first year on the PSA World Tour.
The rest of the seeds are equally daunting, led by 2019 winner Paul Coll from New Zealand (seeded two), the recent Qatar Classic champion Diego Elias (5), British number one Makin (7) and Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the 2019 British Open champion (8).
Due to changes in the draw, wild card Charlie Lee now meets Baptiste Masotti from France.