The Present and the Future of Men’s Indian Squash is looking pretty good, with both Ramit Tandon and Saurav Ghosal reaching the best ever ranking this past season…
Just two years ago, Ramit Tandon was languishing in the World Rankings, sitting at World No.493.
He had taken the risk of his life last September 2017 by leaving a hedge fund analyst’s job in New York to become a full-time squash player, a move that seems to be paying off… Chatting with Ali Farag actually helped him make up his mind that his future could be in squash…
He finishes the 2018-2019 campaign as the World No.49. The Indian has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the course of the past two seasons, and has broken into the top 50 for the first time in his career.
“I think for most players who have just about started playing the PSA circuit breaking into the top 50 is a milestone and I’m happy to get there by the end of this season,” Tandon admitted.
“It also gives me the opportunity to start competing in some Platinum events which is why we all play the sport. You want to be able to compete and do well in the major events that you have grown up watching.”
Tandon played in four major events over the course of the 2018-2019 season. He reached the second round of the Hong Kong Open, and also featured in the World Champs, El Gouna and British Open.
The World No.49 admits that at times he was not performing to his best standard, but that he has got a lot out of the campaign.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride. Some tournaments I played well but some events, especially towards the end of the season, where I didn’t perform as well as I would have liked to,” the Indian explained.
“Overall in terms of ranking, I’m happy to have moved up into the top 50. I have been full time for a season and a half only and I am in the process of learning and discovering things about myself every match, every tournament, every season.”
Through the early part of 2019, Tandon enjoyed a fruitful run, where he made the quarter finals or better of five tournaments, including a victory at the Seattle Open. He also enjoyed his best ever result at a PSA Bronze event, as he reached the last eight of the Pittsburgh Open, but he believes that neither of those are his best performance of the season.
“I think I played well through January, February and March. In January, I played the CCI international event, February and March I won a 10K, lost in the final of another 10K and made the QF of the Pittsburgh Open.
“If I had to pick one it would be the CCI international. I made the semifinal there, got a bit lucky as Saurav gave me a walk over in the quarters, but I felt I was playing well that week.
“I performed well in my matches to get there and I really enjoy playing at home. The support and comfort of playing at home makes it very special.”
Having only been full-time on the PSA World Tour for around 18 months, this is Tandon’s first full campaign, and it is the first time that he will take some time away from the game. Having reached the top 50 this season, the Indian will be looking to push himself even higher up the rankings in 2019-2020. He will also be looking to improve on his performances at the major events.
“Last year since I just start playing the tour professionally I wasn’t really drained towards the end of the season. I didn’t take any time off,” Tandon said.
“But this year, I played a complete season and I’m actually very exhausted both mentally and physically.”
“Towards the end of this season I got an opportunity to compete in a couple of Platinum events but I didn’t perform very well.
“Next season I would like to start having a few good results in the big events. I’m going to change a few things in my training and start working under the guidance of a coach. In terms of rankings if I could break into the top 30, that would be great!”
Having been in the top 30 in the World Rankings for almost a decade, Saurav Ghosal has finally breached the top ten, as he finishes the 2018-2019 season at World No.10.
The Indian reached the mark in April, and has stayed there since, and he admits that he wishes it could have happened sooner.
“Making the top ten has been a goal of mine for a very long time. I wish I had gotten there sooner but better late than never! I felt a multitude of emotions when I made top ten. There was happiness, a sense of relief, pride, and a determination to do more!”
With all these results, along with victory at the Asian Championships, Saurav believes that the 2018-2019 season was his best to date.
“I feel my performance levels were on an improvement on previous seasons. I am happy that the work I put in paid dividends.
Overall, I am happy with making the top 10 and also winning the Asian Championships for the first time. However, there is a lot more to achieve. So, hopefully the 2019/20 season will be even better!”
Along with those quarter final appearances, Ghosal was victorious in his home country. The Indian won the Kolkata International in November, beating Zahed Salem in the final.
That 3-2 victory over the Egyptian earned Ghosal his ninth title on the PSA World Tour, and he said that the atmosphere was special.
“There is a sense of comfort of playing at home. There’s no travelling, sleep on my own bed, eat home food, see familiar faces everyday and of course, play on a court that I have known for so very long,” the Indian explained.
“The people who come to watch me play and create a brilliant atmosphere all add up to make playing at home super special.”
My goals for next season? Win a platinum event and make the top five…”