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Hania El Hammamy

Season Review: Hania El Hammamy

Egypt's Hania El Hammamy secured two Platinum titles during the 2021/22 season, the Allam British Open and the El Gouna International.

The World No.3 also reached another three finals during the season, losing out to Nouran Gohar in the final of the Windy City Open and the US Open. Also losing to Nour El Sherbini in the final of the CIB Squash Open Black Ball 2021.

We caught up with the ambitious World No.3 to discuss her season and aspirations for next season.

“I'm definitely pleased and grateful for this season. When I look back at it, I'm very positive. I'm coming out of this season with a lot of positives, maybe a lot of stuff still to improve on and yet to work on during the off-season.

“It's incredible, to be honest. It's one of the most prestigious tournaments on the calendar [The British Open]. It's just the World Championship and the British Open. Both of them are the most important tournaments, so to be able to get one of them is great. Obviously, I’m disappointed with not getting the win in the World Championships, but looking back at the season, the way I played, the way I have performed and showed up in so many tough battles, it would definitely make me be a little bit gentle on myself.

“One of my goals was to beat the World No.1 and No.2 in a single tournament, because this is a step that I have to take in order to reach the spot. So doing this in El Gouna was definitely meaningful for me and meant that I was getting ready for something big.

Interviewer:
“Something big?”

El Hammamy:
“Let's hope so.”

Interviewer:
“That's the aim.”

El Hammamy:
“Yes. I'm aiming for this.”

Interviewer:
“Do you believe you can get that?”

El Hammamy:
“Absolutely.”

“Well, I think this season I've reached quite a lot of finals, but I wasn't able to convert them. I was playing against Nouran [Gohar] in the first three finals of the season and I didn't manage to get a win against her. I think she was playing in the best form of her life, to be honest. I started to play my best squash at the end of the season. I started to reach what I have to get in order to reach the World No.1 spot. Well, I think the difference between the World No.3 and the World No.3 is just consistency. As I mentioned, Nouran has won five major titles this season. Seven in total, I think, but five major titles. If I'm comparing my season with hers, I only had two major titles, so that definitely makes a huge difference. I would say she's more deserving for this spot at the moment, and hopefully next year I could take the spot and be as consistent as I can to get the World No.1 spot.

“When you win El Gouna, for example, when you win the British Open, you're just very confident, but you also have this extra pressure on yourself where you feel that you can get there and you can win the next one and the next and the next one. So you put more pressure on yourself. I'm definitely very demanding and I'm expecting a lot from myself. So every time I win a tournament, I feel like I’ve got to go and get the other one and that's something that I'm trying to change.

“I'm trying to have a different approach and enjoy my squash more. It's funny how both tournaments I won this season happened right after I lost to Nouran twice. I lost to Nour in Black Ball and then I won the British Open ten days later. Then when I lost to Nouran again in the world Championships, that's when I won El Gouna a week later. So I feel like whenever I lose, I have a bigger challenge within myself and that's when I'm definitely driven and more hungry to prove that whatever happened the week before, it's not who I am, it's not how I play.

“This is the approach I'm trying to build with myself, is to find the motivation and the challenge that could get me there without losing. If I could just win the title and try to get myself challenged in a way to go and back myself up and win the other title, that's what I'm trying to explore and trying to get. It's not relaxing. It's more of putting pressure on myself that I'm not enjoying anymore.

“When I lose, I feel like I don't want to lose again. So I'm just going to relax and try to focus on the game plan. If I'm winning, I want to keep winning. I've done a good job towards the end of the season. So although I'm very tired and I need the opportunity in the off season, but I can't wait for the next one to start and see what's there for me. I'm going to put a lot of work during the off-season and try to get ready for claiming the No.1 spot next season.”

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