Hello SOBHY SQUAD!!!
Big news!! This month I cracked the Top 5 Professional Squash rankings for the first time in my career!
Let me give you a little time line to put things in perspective for you….
It’s currently April, 2021. I am 27 years old and have been playing professional squash tournaments since the age of 16. Upon graduating Harvard in May 2015, I have been a full time squash professional on the PSA (Professional Squash Association) World Tour. My highest career ranking reached 6 before I ruptured my left Achilles, in March 2017. This injury sidelined me for the remainder of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. After a solid 10 months of rehab and recovery, I finally made my comeback on tour, in none other than the Tournament Of Champions, held in the iconic Grand Central Terminal, in New York City. It was January 2018 and my world ranking had dropped to 30.
After battling my way back in tournaments, my ranking settled in at 7 or 8 in the world, where I have remained for the majority of the last two years. However, all that changed last month when I competed in The Black Ball Open, in Cairo, Egypt. I reached the finals of the event, which was my first final of a Platinum tournament since my injury! Ironically, this tournament fell right during the 4 year anniversary of my rupture so you can imagine how satisfying that was for me to play some of my best squash to date!
New rankings come out on the first of every month, so on April 1st, I checked the PSA rankings. I was still listed as 7 in the world. “Ok”, I thought. “I didn’t move up.” Then again, I wasn’t really expecting to move; I just wanted to close the gap of the player ahead of me. It was time to go train at the Philadelphia Racquet Club.
At the club I had a feeding session with former pro, Dylan Cunningham, and I had one of the worst training sessions of all time. I was moving like a sloth and any cross court Dylan hit would sail right past me. Two nights prior, my sister and I gave a Sobhy Showdown exhibition at The Hamilton Club (in Lancaster PA) and I was definitely feeling the effects of all the playing and the festivities. Needless to say, it was an off day for training. After my abysmal session, I saw on Instagram that a good squash friend of mine, Danielle Letourneau, had posted about reaching her highest ranking of 21. I messaged her saying congrats. She replied back saying, “congrats on Top 5!”. I was like, “huh?” You can imagine the confused look I had on my face.
I checked the rankings again and there I was…my name sitting at world number 5! I didn’t believe it at first because a few hours earlier I was ranked at 7. It also happened to be April 1st, which in the U.S. is April Fool’s Day, a day of pranks and jokes. The skeptic in me believed that this was some twisted April Fool’s joke. I reached out to someone in PSA for clarification and they confirmed that I was actually 5 in the new rankings. Woah… I needed a minute or two to process this ranking leap.
Realizing the reality, I shouted the news to the two other players who were training at the Racquet Club (one of them being my sister)! It was a mixture of pure excitement and shock. Then I broke the news to my team and to my family. At first they didn’t believe me. I had to say to everyone, “I swear I am not messing with you. I am actually ranked 5. This. is. not. an. April. Fool’s. joke. I am just as confused as you are, but I am confirmed at 5. Woohoo!!!”. It started to sink into everyone that this was my new ranking and with that came tons of congratulations!
For anyone who has been on my journey with me, you all know that I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. Six months ago I had literally hit a wall and had lost my love for the game. I was seriously on the verge of transitioning out of being a professional squash player. Fast forward and I’ve broken into the top 5 in the world rankings!! This is truly an amazing feeling and it means so much to me and to those closest to me. I’m so happy that I chose not to give up on a game that has meant so much, for so long. I fully took in that day, basking in the moment and appreciating the journey that I have been on. I also realize that there is still a lot of work to be done and that I am only scratching the surface of my potential. It was just the news that I needed to forget my morning (pathetic) drilling and to go smash up an hour long Thierry Lincou interval ghosting session that afternoon.
The entire day got better and better because that night I flew to Miami, Florida for a weekend getaway with two of my best friends, Elani and Lume Landman. We booked this trip back in January, knowing that we would be in need of a recharge vacation after a winter grind. Talk about perfect timing! Upon returning, I’m feeling rested, recharged, and with a little sun-kissed Miami glow! I’m hungry to keep building on the momentum and I can’t wait to see what else is in store this year!
Thank you to all who messaged me regarding my top 5 status. I tried to respond to everyone because I want you all to know how much I appreciate your love and support. If I have missed anyone, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart!! Let’s keep getting that bread!