“Honestly, I’m very, very proud of my season.
Goals and Strategy
“I set goals at the beginning of the season. It actually went beyond my expectations in a way, like obviously reaching World No.1 was something in my mind for the whole thing. But I think the strategy or the mindset that I had was a bit different this time. I was not thinking about the ranking as much as wanting to win titles.
“Winning four tournaments in a row was something that I was really happy with. Obviously some disappointments in the middle, but, it’s my first time ending the season as World No.1, so I’m still learning how. Obviously, we had a lot of tournaments, so there were some moments where the body was burned out and it’s all the worry about your body.
“You have to always keep the other thing, the hunger and the motivation. It’s the hardest you can actually achieve because you always have to be on top of your form. Everyone is here to chase you. Everyone wants to beat you on any day. You’re the one player that has to always have this form and be able to, even if you’re not playing your best, be able to still beat everyone. So, I think even if unconsciously, you won’t feel it, there is pressure coming with the No.1 spot. I think it’s how you learn how to manage this kind of pressure on and off court.
“I didn’t win everything”
“There was some disappointment. I didn’t win everything. So actually I see it as a positive thing because there is room for me to improve. There is room to gain more points. So I still have some room for improvement, which actually makes me very excited because I feel like if I still have some improvement and some adjustments that I need to do and I’m the best player in the world right now, it’s actually a bonus and a positive thing to think about altogether about firstly, wanting to improve as a squash player, wanting to work on my weaknesses more and wanting to perform better every time I’m on court.”
“So it helps me. I like to think about how it helps me about winning tournaments and not really thinking about the rankings. I always say it, but this time I feel like I really understood the meaning behind it, that the ranking will always take care of itself. As long as I’m doing well, I’m doing my part. I’m trying to win. I think ranking is the last thing you have to think about it. So I actually really wanted to earn this part by doing something really good that no one would expect. I don’t think anyone before the season would have expected me to win four tournaments in a row, that was something that I was very happy with. I was just trying to prove to myself that I can be better than what I’m thinking.
Coming back for the CIB Egyptian Open
“I think the Egyptian open was the one that I remember really well because I was seven down the last game and then I won it, it’s a big event for everyone but for Egyptians especially.
“Playing in front of the pyramids, in front of the crowd and everything is huge. I lost two finals before that. I lost the World Champs and then I lost the British Open, which I was really close to winning as well. So I just felt like the fire I had in myself all came out during that match and it just helped me to keep the momentum for the rest of the season. And really, this match helped me a lot for the rest of the season, I think.
Not this year Nouran…
“But at the World Champs, I was feeling like I’m the favourite, although I wasn’t the defending champion, but everyone was talking about the form and everything and the expectations of me winning it, which, was a good thing that I felt like I was ready to get this title and grab it. But as I told you, you always learn there is different circumstances. It’s a different kind of tournament. It’s a very long one. You have to learn how to manage the pressure, the matches, everything.
“But if you want to be the best player in the world, you just have to take it and then move onto the next one. And that’s actually why I learned during this season, whereas I’m going to win or lose, I just have to forget about it and forget about the emotions. It just takes one night and then you have to get back to work because there’s no time. If you just sit there and you’re celebrating too much or you’re being too much, you’re just going to lose the next one. So there’s no time for anything. You just have to get back to work and wait for the results.”
“I don’t think I will ever stop playing this game until I win the World Champs because it means everything. It’s the most important one. I would love to win it twice, three times, four times if I’m able to do it. But well, I had my reasons when I lost this final.
Dealing with the pressure
I felt like I was peaking really high. I won four tournaments but I don’t think I put pressure on myself. I just felt like the way the season was going and the way I was playing as well and the confidence and everything would have helped me to believe that I was able to grab this one.
Like in the past, there were certain titles where, for example, the first title I won, the Hong Kong Open, I went there, I was the underdog. It’s very different, it’s a very different mindset. It’s a very different kind of thinking about the tournament. I was going there, enjoying myself, playing the top girls.
Now it’s completely different. So you just try to learn, it’s more by losing what you really want as well. But it showed me how much I want this and how hungry I am and that I nearly I didn’t achieve half of what I want to now. So that’s a good thing to take out of these losses. I’m happy to see what next season is going to bring.”