History will be made tonight as Egyptian brothers Mohamed and Marwan ElShorbagy go head-to-head in the 2017 AJ Bell PSA World Championships final – the first time that two brothers have battled it out for the most prestigious title in squash.
Some of the greatest names in the sport have got their hands on the iconic title and both Mohamed and Marwan are one win away from being able to have their names etched onto the famous trophy courtesy of respective semi-final wins over World No.1 Gregory Gaultier and World No.3 Ali Farag.
But it promises to be an emotional affair for the brothers, who both moved from Egypt to Bristol at a young age to train at the renowned Millfield School, and their family with a victory for one brother ending the other’s hopes of lifting the sport’s most coveted title for another year at least.
“We both want to win and the loser will be happy for the other one, but each one of wants to win it individually,” said Mohamed.
“It’s tough because you have to separate your emotions and your head, you have to think with your head a little bit today.
“For my family, it’s not easy. They are really proud of both of us for being in the final and they’ve all sent their congratulations but at the same time they’re not understanding the fact that we want to stay away from these kind of messages.
“It’s emotionally very hard for my mother, I saw her crying when she was hugging my brother after the match,
“Today there is only going to be one winner and one loser. A lot of people are telling us we’re both going to be winners today, the family is going to be a winner for sure, but me and my brother will think about it individually.”
Their close bond has withstood the pressures of facing each other on a number of occasions on the PSA World Tour – 10 in total – with Marwan falling to seven defeats without reply against his older brother until an emotional win over Mohamed in February’s Windy City Open.
Marwan, the World No.5 appearing in his maiden World Championship final, admits that his brother has the upper hand when it comes to experience but says that confidence-boosting wins against defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad and fellow Egyptian Farag have left him feeling excited for the match, rather than nervous.
“When I saw the draw, I thought that maybe I had a chance,” Marwan said.
“I don’t know why, but I had a feeling I was going to play my brother in the final. This is a dream come true for me, these are the kind of things you visualise when you are young.
“I just wanted to play my best squash this week, I’ve been playing really well. I just need to focus today and I’m playing my brother, who is in the best form of his life. I need to focus from the first point, he’s going to be really sharp and he has more experience than me
“I feel really confident with my game, I beat Ali yesterday in five games and the day before I beat the defending champion, Karim, in three games. I feel I’m getting better each tournament, I didn’t start the season they way I wanted to, but I feel I’m getting better in each tournament and here I feel that I’m getting better each match.
“I know how much he wants it, but I want it just as much as him. I know he will do everything to do it tonight but I’ll be doing the exact same thing. I’m going to fight from the first point to the last point.”
They both admit that discussion between the two of them over the past 24 hours has been at a minimum since Marwan booked his place in the historic title-decider.
Marwan after his semi-final win over Farag
“He sent me a few hearts on a WhatsApp and I replied with less hearts than he did,” Marwan says with a laugh.
“We haven’t really spoken, I know how happy he is for me and I know we’ve made our family proud.
“I don’t know how I’m going to be feeling on court, but I’m excited to be playing the World Championship final against my brother and I just want to make the most of it.”
Mohamed, meanwhile, admits he has conflicting feelings about tonight’s final.
“I sent him some congratulations once he won and I was really happy for him when he won that last point,” said the World No.2.
“But a few minutes later it hit me that we were playing each other in the final, so I stayed quiet in bed for hours so I could think about what to do in that situation.
“If someone had to prevent my brother from winning the World Championship, that trophy that he dreams to win, it has to be me today.
“That’s not going to be easy mentally, but at the same time you try and remove any thoughts like these out of your head because I have to treat him like every other opponent I play against.”
Mohamed will be appearing in his third World Championship final after previous defeats to compatriot Ramy Ashour in both the 2012 and 2014 finals.
A glittering career to date has seen Mohamed spend 28 months at World No.1, while he has won every major title he has competed in – with the exception of the World Championship.
And ahead of a seventh successive PSA World Tour final, the 26-year-old admits he is eager to prove that he is once again the world’s leading player.
Mohamed celebrates his Hong Kong Open title win in November
“To win this title would complete the set of all the tournaments that I could have won, I would have won everything.
“I’ve come here this season to show that I’m the best player in the world and I don’t want to do it just for this season, I want to do it for many more seasons to come.
“My achievements won’t stop here, I have a lot more things to achieve. My goal is not to just win one World Championship, I want to try and stay at World No.1 for as long as I can.
“I’m very close to getting that World No.1 spot back, it will just be a month or two, and I want to stay there for as long as I can. That is the kind of thing I want to achieve and it doesn’t stop tonight, even if I win tonight’s match.
“I’m still hungry to win more titles, I’m still young and I still have a lot to offer the sport. I’m still 26 and I have still have more years to achieve more.”
The ElShorbagy brothers will go head-to-head after tonight’s women’s final, which begins at 17:00 local time (GMT).
Draw – Final: 2017 AJ Bell PSA Men’s World Championship
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)