With the Asian Games 2023 on the horizon, Saurav Ghosal has his sights set on squash gold. As he gears up for the showdown, he personifies squash at its finest - a sport that combines artistry, athleticism, and strategy into a breathtaking spectacle.
In an exclusive interaction with Sportskeeda, Saurav Ghosal offers a glimpse into his anticipation and meticulous preparation for the Asian Games 2023. He delves into his rigorous training regimen and provides insightful perspectives on tactics that make squash a dynamic sport to watch out for.
Saurav shed light on the technical aspects that shape his game strategy. He emphasized the importance of creating spaces and shared insights he has gained over the years. The crux of his strategy revolves around creating open spaces on the court by deftly maneuvering his opponent. He elucidates:
"The most basic thing that I try and do is hit the ball is to create spaces on the court. My coach used to say it's a very simple game, and we just overcomplicate it. We have to try and outmaneuver the opponent into extreme spaces on the court and then hit into the open spaces.”
While the core strategy remains constant, Ghosal acknowledges that there are subtle variations when playing against different opponents. He stressed the need for specific tactical nuances to adapt to the style of each player.
When it comes to inspiration, Saurav has a notable figure in mind—Amr Shabana, a former four-time world champion and world #1 player from Egypt. Ghosal acknowledged:
“Someone that I've always looked up to. I learned a lot from him [Amr Shabana]. He's the one to watch if someone was to learn how to play squash.”
"Ng Eain Yow from Malaysia” - Saurav names the biggest challenge ahead of the Asian Games
As the Asian Games approach, Saurav Ghosal opens up about his expectations, preparations, and the challenges he anticipates in the upcoming event.
Saurav’s determination and confidence in securing the coveted gold medals for India are palpable. He understands the significance of rigorous preparation to achieve this goal. He stated:
"Going into the Asian Games, obviously I want to win the team gold, which comes first, and then the individual gold, which follows the team event. I believe we are capable of achieving that. It's all about maintaining focus, executing our game plan, and being as clinical as possible throughout the competition. Hopefully, everything falls into place, and we bring home the gold."
As Saurav Ghosal prepares for the Asian Games, he acknowledges the formidable competitors he will face in his quest for glory. With the competition heating up, Ghosal takes a closer look at the challenges that lie ahead.
"In terms of competitors, there are several standout players who have excelled on the squash circuit. Ng Eain Yow from Malaysia is a top seed and has consistently been top over the past few years. He's a force to be reckoned with."
Another player on Ghosal's radar is Abdulla Al Tamimi from Qatar. Ghosal describes:
"He is a dangerous player & he has the ability to disrupt the game and challenge opponents makes him a significant threat in the competition”
Beyond the well-known contenders, Saurav acknowledges the presence of potential dark horses in the tournament. He remarks:
"There are always surprises in sports. Players like Tsukue from Japan and Abdulla Al Muzayim from Kuwait may not have extensive PSA experience, but they possess the potential to upset the established order."
Either Saurav doesn't discount the competitive spirit of the Pakistani players either. He expects them to be motivated and eager to make their mark at the Asian Games.
“We share a great rapport on and off the court” – Saurav on his bond with Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa
When delving into his mindset during different match scenarios, Saurav Ghosal provides us with valuable insights into his approach to the game.
"In singles, everything is on you," Saurav begins. "You know your strengths and what some might call weaknesses. You have a clear idea of how you want to approach the game and execute your strategy to the best of your ability."
On the other hand, Double's game brings with it a unique set of challenges, as success hinges on the chemistry between the two players. It's not just about your own performance; it's about adapting to your partner's game and finding ways to complement each other. He shares:
“When I'm playing mixed doubles with someone like Deepika," Ghosal explains, "it's a bit more complex. We need to develop a strategy and tactics based not only on our individual strengths and weaknesses but also on hers. It's about figuring out how we can expose the other team based on our combined strengths and understanding."
Being part of a team means not only relying on your own abilities but also providing support to your partner when they need it most. It's a delicate balance of encouragement and adaptability. Saurav rightly says:
"Some days, in a team like this, one of us might be playing exceptionally well, and on other days, it might be the other way around," Ghosal observes. "Some days, both of us might be at our best, while on other days, neither of us might perform as well. Handling these fluctuations can be challenging because it's not just about your own performance."
He further added:
"For example, if Deepika is having an off day," Saurav continues, "I need to step up and cover for her with my squash skills and also try to keep her mentally positive so that she doesn't dwell on her performance too much."
He also added his experience of teaming up with Joshna Chinnappa. Saurav Ghosal's partnership with Joshna in doubles has stood the test of time. He reflects:
"Joshna and I have played together for a long time. We share a great rapport on and off the court. We understand each other very well and have a mutual respect for each other's capabilities. All of this really helps when we play together. We know each other's strengths, and we emphasize those strengths as much as possible when we're on the court as a team."
In the world of squash, where individual excellence often takes center stage, Ghosal's ability to excel in both singles and doubles while maintaining a winning partnership showcases not only his physical competence but also his mental adaptability and team spirit.
“Focusing on the right things can make a huge difference” – Saurav highlights the importance of proper nutrition and self-care
Squash is a sport that demands peak physical fitness, and the 37-year-old is well aware of the challenges it presents. He shared insights into his training regimen and how he has adapted it over the years to maintain peak physical fitness and stay competitive at the highest level of squash.
When asked about his training regimen and how he has adapted it over the years, Ghosal had this to say:
"I owe much of my physicality to my brilliant physical trainer, Damon Lydia Brown. I've been working with him since 2013. Damon is English, and I met him when I lived in Philadelphia. He's adapted my training based on my age but also how the game of squash is evolving as a sport."
"We've been very smart with the way we've approached it, and a lot of credit goes to him for guiding me correctly over all these years. He's given me training techniques and exercises that I probably wouldn't have known if it wasn't for him."
Saurav's acknowledgement of the importance of tailored training highlights a crucial aspect of his success. It's not just about working hard; it's about working smart and adapting to the changing demands of the sport.
His approach serves as an inspiration to athletes of all ages, proving that with the right mindset and a well-thought-out training plan, one can continue to excel in sports even as the years roll on. Saurav Ghosal also emphasized the role of sports science in his training:
"There have been significant advancements in sports science, with access to physiotherapists and cutting-edge techniques. It's essential to take care of your body, get the right nutrition, and give your body the rest it needs. Focusing on the right things can make a huge difference. You'd be surprised how far the body can take you, even as you get older."
In the lead-up to the Asian Games, Saurav Ghosal's dedication to squash shines brightly. His ardent training, strategic finesse, and passion for the sport promise, that he is ready to leave his mark on the grand stage for one last time.