The 2019/20 season proved to be a mixed bag for Nour El Sherbini with the Egyptian being struck down with an injury two weeks before the start of the season that saw her force to withdraw from a number of major tournaments and slip outside of the top three of the World Rankings for the first time since March 2016.
However, a return to action at the sport’s biggest tournament, the PSA Women’s World Championship, in front of the iconic setting of the Great Pyramid of Giza saw El Sherbini show why she is one of the sport’s best as she conquered World No.1 Raneem El Welily in the final to win her fourth World Championship title on her 24th birthday.
“I knew I was going to fall down the rankings,” said El Sherbini.
“But after what happened all I was thinking is to play the World Championship, this was my only request to my doctor and that what my team and I agreed on. I was trying to hang in until the end of the season.
“Your birthday is always special and once I saw the dates of the tournaments, I knew the final was on my birthday I hoped if I reached the finals it will be a very special one for me. I don’t think there is any better present than this.”
El Sherbini - Giza Pyramids, Cairo
Despite missing the start of the season with a knee injury, El Sherbini managed to reach the final of all four tournaments she played in, winning two of those – the World Championship and the Windy City Open. And the Egyptian admitted her eyes are firmly set on getting back to World No.1, the ranking she lost to compatriot El Welily at the end of 2018.
“It was very frustrating for me as I had a very good plan for this season and I trained hard in my off season I was ready for every tournament but suddenly in a blink of an eye I had my knee injury two weeks before starting the season and all my plans changed 360 degree.
“I had to stop and rethink what shall I do and what is better for me and my body and my career.
“My aim was to try to get back to number one and win tournaments. I didn’t have the chance to win before but unfortunately not playing the first half of the season didn’t help me achieve this goal, but I’m still very close to achieve if we have the chance to complete the season.
“I always try to be consistent as much as I can and that is something I worked on in my off season training but in this situation I’m dealing with right know I’m trying to use my brain before my body and I think it’s working really good until now.”
With the unexpected break due to the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting all squash players plans and training for the season, El Sherbini is seeing the positive side of the suspension to recover properly from her injury and enjoy some family time.
“I always love to spend time with my family and friends and love to try new adventures and visit new places.
“Now I can try to stay fit, try to recover from my injury if possible and enjoy sometime home with family.”