Fri 11th Mar, Day SEVEN,
 Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 3-1
 Omar Mosaad (Egy)
6/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/5 (82m)
Castagnet is the 13th CW Champion
Alan Thatcher reports
French number three seed Mathieu Castagnet capped a brilliant
week in London by beating the top seed Omar Mosaad to win the
Canary Wharf Squash Classic final.
a packed crowd in the stunning East Wintergarden venue, both
players served up a superb display of high-quality squash.
In each round the 5ft 10in tall Castagnet overcame giant
opponents, Joe Lee (6ft 3in), James Willstrop (6ft 4in), Cameron
Pilley (6ft 3in) and finally blunting the blows of Mosaad (6ft
It was Castagnet who walked tall after a dynamic performance in
which he recovered from losing the first game and dominated long
spells of the match.
For Mosaad, it was his 12th match in less than three weeks,
having finished runner-up in Colombia and reaching the
semi-finals in Chicago.
Understandably, he occasionally looked a little tired but still
summoned up the enormous power which has earned him the nickname
of The Hammer Of Thor. Castagnet had one simple game plan: to
keep getting back as many balls as possible.
several rallies, Mosaad fired in a succession of attempted kill
shots only to find Castagnet returning his efforts with
interest. He is more, much more, than a simple runner and
He has improved his quality in all areas of the court and his
counter-drops often caused Mosaad problems.
Castagnet began brightly and raced into a 6-2 lead only for
Mosaad to win nine points in a row to win the game.
The 29-year-old Frenchman quickly regrouped and built a 6-1 lead
in the second. This time he withstood all that Mosaad could
throw at him and drew level at one game all.
The crucial third game was even all
the way but Castagnet won four points in a row from 8-7 down to
strike a major psychological blow to the 27-year-old Egyptian.
Mossad led 4-3 in the fourth game but Castagnet broke his spirit
with a massive run of six consecutive points. After a flurry of
exchanges, Mosaad claimed one more point but the outcome was
decided on two penalty strokes, finishing with a tired shot down the middle of
A delighted Castagnet followed French legend Thierry Lincou to
have his name on the Canary Wharf trophy. It was a milestone
performance in a career that clearly promises so much more.
Like Joey Barrington would say, I can't believe it, I can’t
believe it!!! To put my name on the trophy with players like
Thierry, James, Nick - best players in the World, is a great
pleasure for me. The crowd here have been amazing all week and I
really enjoyed playing here…
We made a deal actually with Omar.. I told him, you won Chicago,
so you let me win in Canary Wharf… NOT!!!
I really want to point out how grateful I am to Steve
Richardson, the Irish player, who care at the start of the match
and asked me if I wanted to be coached. And he truly helped me
finding tactics especially after losing the first game 11/6 when
I was 6/2 up!
I got worried in the 2nd, when I was up 6/1 and he started
stringing the points again. I was relieved to stop his flow
I was very relaxed today, you just can’t start discussing with
the Ref, and Omar, and yourself.. you need to keep your energy
on playing the ball.
I want to thank Tim Garner and his team, the organisers who made
the tournament - it has been great pleasure.
I want to thank Omar, we had a great battle in Chicago a few
weeks ago and today we played tough a game - he won 3-1 last
time and today it was my turn to win 3-1. Maybe what made the
difference today, is that I had the chance to go back home, to
my place, to my girlfriend…
I want to thank of course my mum and dad who were watching the
match, my girlfriend Laura Pomportes, my staff, Renan Lavigne my
coach, Arnaud, Philippe, all the people that work very hard to
keep me fit on court, the FFSquash, the CREPS Aix where I train
all year long, and of course my sponsors.
Although it’s “only” a 70K, it’s not a World Series, I had to
beat James, I had to beat Omar, top 4, so it felt like a World
Series, and for me, it’s a huge achievement. You’ve got to
realise that I was not that gifted as a player. I just worked
hard, all my life. I always quote Nadal who states “I’m somebody
who just worked”, well for me, wining such a tournament is just
extraordinary. It proves that work pays off…
I have played three tournaments in a row, it was tough on the
body, but I’m really happy with reaching the final of two out of
I knew the match would be hard, Mathieu is a tough competitor.
And in the first game, I was down 6/2, but I just got more
confident, and went for my shots, just kept pushing, I was in
the zone really.
In the third, I was leading 8/7 only just, went for a silly
shot, was penalised with a stroke, and he takes the game 11/8.
After losing that 3rd, I got more positive, and told myself come
on, you were down 2/0 last night, and you won 3/2, so keep
pushing. But the legs weren’t responding… I was already tired on
the first match of the tournament!!! And that’s what I’m the
most proud about, the fact I kept pushing so hard this week,
both mentally and physically.
Still, you get a lot of match experience, you learn to adapt to
different situations, you find new game plans, and you get to
dig in and realise you’ve got resources you didn’t know you had.
I truly enjoyed playing in front of the Canary Wharf crowd, and
I hope I’ll be back next year… But for now, I am going to take
some recovery time, I think I need more rest than training
before the British Open in 10 days…