World #2 Ali Farag is excited to target redemption at the upcoming Optasia Championship, which will take place at the Wimbledon Club in London, England, between Sunday 6th and Friday 11th March
The former World #1 comes into the tournament looking for a return to top form following a quarter-final exit in this week’s Windy City Open Presented by the Walter Family.
“I’m very excited to be in England to play this tournament,” Farag says.
“To turn around the result of this week [in the Windy City Open], it’s good to play a tournament right after it so you can redeem yourself in the best way possible.”
The Egyptian adds that he has been eagerly awaiting the start of the Optasia Championships. The PSA World Tour Gold tournament, which was formerly known as the Channel VAS Championships, has this year been relocated from the St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club and offers $109,000 in total player prize compensation.
“I’m happy to see it moving to Wimbledon. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit as a spectator, let alone now as a player. I’ve heard the club is beautiful and I’m really looking forward to it,” the top seed explains.
“I’ve reached many finals in England and have never really converted one, so I’d love to win my first title in England, but I have to take it one match at a time.”
Farag, who has picked up three PSA titles so far this season, will enter the tournament in the second round and is seeded to meet fourth seed Marwan ElShorbagy – who downed Farag in Chicago earlier this week – in the semi-final.
The 29-year-old, though, is in a confident mood.
“I’m really looking forward to being back in England and am really looking forward to playing Optasia. As always, thank you to the sponsors and thank you to Danny Lee for putting this up, I’m looking forward to it,” he says.
In the other half of the draw, another former World #.1 is seeded to be Farag’s opponent in the final. 31-year-old Mohamed ElShorbagy, Marwan’s older brother, beat Farag in the 2017 Channel VAS Championship final and is predicted to meet 2019 champion Karim Abdel Gawad and Peru’s World No.6 Diego Elias en route.
For the home crowd, hopes will lie with the English quartet of Adrian Waller, Patrick Rooney, James Willstrop and wildcard.
The tournament starts with “People’s Sunday” on 6th with eight first round matches, the winners going on to meet the top eight seeds in Round Two on Monday and Tuesday.
13.00 [9/16] Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) v Shahjahan Khan (USA)
14.00 [9/16] Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
15.00 [9/16] Iker Pajares (ESP) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
16.00 [9/16] Raphael Kandra (GER v James Willstrop (ENG) (EGY)
18.00 [9/16] Cesar Salazar (MEX) v [WC] Joe Lee (ENG)
19.00 [9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Patrick Rooney (ENG)
20.00 [9/16] Youssef Soliman (EGY) v Lucas Serme (FRA)
21.00 [9/16] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) v George Parker (Eng))