The husband and wife who won their first major squash titles on the same day

first_imgShare via Email Twitter Share on Facebook Reuse this content Since you’re here… The two finals followed each other fairly briskly on the day, so Farag had to balance his own preparation with supporting his wife. He couldn’t miss her final completely, but he also had to maintain his concentration for the biggest match of his career. Nour was relieved to be playing the first match of the day. “Thank God I’m on first so I don’t have to feel the pressure of him playing before my match,” she said before the match.Her husband used up enough energy for two matches, but it didn’t affect his performance against defending champion Mohamed El Shorbagy. He was sublime, using his wife’s victory as rocket fuel. As he clinched the final point he looked to the front row to his wife who understatedly, almost sheepishly, joined him slowly, giving him enough room and time to take in the moment. It’s not always easy to win with such dignity. Squash Read more When Nour El Tayeb and Ali Farag won the US Open squash titles in Philadelphia earlier this month, the squash world knew they had broken some kind of record. This pair aren’t just from the same country; they are from the same house. The two Egyptian players, who married last summer, have been on the rise over the last few years but neither is in the habit of picking up major titles. In fact, neither had won a top-tier World Series event until they spurred each other to victory on the same day. They are now the only husband and wife in sporting history to have won a major singles title on the same day.The squash world has embraced and enjoyed their unique achievement, even if some players probably think it’s a bit greedy of them to grab everything at once. This sort of family success is much rarer than siblings winning in tandem. The Brownlee brothers and Williams sisters can take advantage of the same propitious genes and nurturing environments. The El Shorbagy brothers and Grinham sisters have made it right to the top in squash in recent years – and their achievements are exceptional – but there is something truly special about two people meeting each other slightly randomly, falling in love and then winning massive sporting events for the first time on the same afternoon.It’s enough to make people talk sentimentally about “fate” and success being “written in the stars” but this twin triumph is the result of dogged determination and the disciplined lifestyles they lead with each other. They are both engaging, passionate, positive and enviably intelligent people – off the court and on it – and they could bring the sport wider appeal in the next years. They are appreciated by fellow players and audiences alike. Farag was given the Spirit of Squash award for the second time this year. Chosen by his fellow players, the prize goes to the player who best demonstrates sportsmanship on and off court throughout the season.They both studied for degrees while maintaining their professional aspirations, which is a mission to say the least. Playing squash at the highest level is grievously demanding but doing so at a formative stage of your career while studying is seriously impressive. Farag studied mechanical engineering at Harvard University, so presumably his professors wouldn’t have been too keen on him bunking off lectures to catch up on missed training. Having studied at one of America’s great universities, it is fitting his greatest sporting triumph to date came in the US Open.El Tayeb is such a watchable player. She manages to balance a highly skilful, busy and graceful game with a kinetic and fiery spirit. Her acrobatic retrievals, shots and court length dives have a habit of sending SquashTV into overdrive. She also showed fighting spirit after a shoulder injury in 2015 severely halted her progress. Facebook Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp Topics Unless they can both win two titles at the British Open or World Championships on the same day, it probably can’t get any better for these two people who love each other. We see high-powered partnerships materialising through sport – Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi – but none have had an afternoon like this. For now it’s back to the tour for both of them. Ali played a major event in London last week, losing in the final to Mohamed El Shorbagy. Nour was in Brooklyn, losing in the quarter-finals to Nour El Sherbini, one of the opponents she slayed in Philadelphia. Undoubtedly, they will find some time at home to celebrate together. And they can get back to more mundane things in marriage, like arguing about who takes out the bins.• This is an article from James Willstrop’s blog• Follow James on Twitter US Open squash champions Ali Farag and Nour El Tayeb. Photograph: Steve Line/SquashPics/PSA US sports features How it feels to play sport in the world’s most iconic train station Share on Pinterest Support The Guardian … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Pinterest Guardian Sport Network Share on Messenger Share on LinkedInlast_img read more

MLS Eastern Conference produces wild night

first_imgMLS Wild nights in Atlanta and Columbus as the East’s top teams stand firm at home Ives Galarcep 12:12 6/3/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Josef Martinez Atlanta United Philadelphia Union MLS 2018 Adam Hagy MLS Atlanta United Atlanta United v Philadelphia Union Philadelphia Union Columbus Crew v Toronto Toronto Columbus Crew The defending MLS champion fell apart after taking a three-goal, while a double red card helped the Five Stripes to a win at home Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference standings did not change order on Saturday, but there was plenty of drama and big statements made on a wild day of action.Atlanta United capitalized on a pair of first-half Philadelphia Union red cards to halt the Union’s unbeaten streak in a heated affair at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, while Toronto FC watched a three-goal lead evaporate at MAPFRE Stadium in a 3-3 slugfest against the streaking Crew.New York City FC also maintained its hold on second place in the East with an emphatic 3-0 victory against Orlando City on a night when David Villa was left out of the starting lineup. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now The Union went to Atlanta riding a four-match unbeaten streak, having allowed just two goals in four matches, but things fell apart for Philadelphia in the 21st minute when Josef Martinez drew a penalty that led to heated protests from the Union.Alejandro Bedloya drew his second yellow card for attempting to delay Martinez’s penalty kick, which then set off Haris Medunjanin, who drew consecutive yellow cards for verbally attacking referee Sorin Stoica.Martinez eventually converted the penalty kick, but the Union still managed to make the match competitive despite being down to nine men.Philadelphia trailed 2-1 in the 83rd minute when defender Fabinho was rightly whistled for a handball in the penalty area, leading to another Martinez penalty kick, thus ending the Union’s chances for an improbable result.TFC looked well on its way to a badly-needed victory when Sebastian Giovinco scored one of his trademark free kicks in the 54th minute to give the visitors a 3-0 lead on Columbus.Classic Sebastian Giovinco! 💯It’s 3-0 for @torontofc. #CLBvTOR— Major League Soccer (@MLS) June 3, 2018But the Crew rallied with three unanswered goals, all coming on plays where Michael Bradley was at fault.Bradley was beaten on a 67th minute header by Gyasi Zardes, then dropped a failed clearance attempt right in front of goal that Alex Crognale slotted home to pull the Crew within 3-2. Bradley’s nightmare concluded with him fouling Zardes in the penalty area for the game-tying penalty kick, converted by Federico Higuain in the 90th minute.The only top Eastern Conference team to lose on Saturday was the New York Red Bulls, who fell to New England at Gillette Stadium. Playing without Tyler Adams and Tim Parker, who were with the U.S. national team for its loss to Ireland, the Red Bulls watched an early lead disappear as the Revolution rallied to a victory that moved them into a tie on points with the Red Bulls for fourth place in the East (though the Red Bulls have two games in hand on New England).A busy week lies ahead, with U.S. Open Cup action taking place on Wednesday, before some more big Eastern Conference clashes headline the MLS slate next week. Atlanta United travels to New York to face NYCFC, while the Red Bulls head to Columbus to try and snap the Crew’s league-best eight-match unbeaten streak.last_img read more