Married couple Ali Farag and Nour El Tayeb will aim to repeat their historic U.S. Open title run last year that saw them become the first husband and wife in sporting history to lift the same major sports title on the same day at the 2018 FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships, October 6-13, at Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Center.
Last year, Farag and El Tayeb stunned the squash world last October with upsets over current World Champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily in their respective title deciders.
Farag was warming up for his final fixture while El Tayeb was on court against El Welily, but was in his wife’s corner between games to give her advice, while El Tayeb returned the favor during his match with ElShorbagy.
“You want to be in the right headspace before your match, you want to be relaxed and you don’t want to be tense,” said Farag, the current men’s world No. 2. “You want to warm-up properly but obviously you have to interrupt your warm-up sometimes to go and talk to her between games or to watch a crucial rally.”
The 2017 results marked the first career World Series titles for both players.
“Winning the 2017 U.S. Open championships alongside Nour, for both of us it was our first ever World Series title and when it happened I couldn’t even celebrate, I was in shock,” Farag said. “We both won it for the first time on the same day. We can forever call ourselves U.S. Open champions and it means so much to us.”
World No. 3 El Tayeb echoes her husband’s thoughts and says the couple’s mutual support of each other has helped both players break new ground and establish themselves among the world’s elite over the past couple of seasons.
“I didn’t care or know that we were the first couple, I was just happy I won it and was happy he won it, it was the first major,” El Tayeb said. “Knowing he’s there is just the thing for me, I just want to know he’s there and I can talk to him. Even if he’s out there warming up or I can call him on the phone, that’s enough. I like to get his support and see it in his eyes. His support and encouragement helps me keep going and he knows when I’m lacking motivation or too excited.”
Farag and El Tayeb both receive a bye into the second round, where Farag will meet Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller, while he is seeded to meet ElShorbagy in the final once again. The Harvard graduate enters the U.S. Open in good form having defeated ElShorbagy in the Oracle NetSuite Open final Tuesday night in San Francisco.
El Tayeb, meanwhile, will face either India’s Dipika Pallikal Karthik or Canada’s Danielle Letourneau in the last 32 and is seeded to reach the semifinals, where she could play world No.1 Nour El Sherbini, who she beat in the quarter-finals of last year’s U.S. Open.
The U.S. Open, PSA World Tour Platinum event will feature equal prize money between the men’s and women’s tournaments for the sixth year in a row, with the tournament boasting a $338,000 prize fund. A place at the PSA World Tour Finals will also be up for grabs, with both the men’s and women’s winners guaranteeing their places at the season-ending tournament.
For tickets visit usopensquash.com/tickets.