Did we fail Greg Gaultier?

A week has passed and the dust has settled in Manchester.
AJ Bell contributed to our sport in a way that few have done, providing an opportunity for the spectacular presentation of the premier Men’s Squash Tournament in the world.
Nick Matthew established that he is truly one of the greats of the game, riding his luck it is true, but that is what icons do and that is why it is they that are remembered and not the ‘nearly’ men or women.
This irrefutable truth notwithstanding, the fact remains that a huge question mark hovers like an ugly cloud over the manner of Gregory Gaultier’s demise.
And moreover, the singular lack of interest from the media in the unacceptable fashion in which he was manifestly debilitated by the anti-doping procedure that he was subjected to in the middle of what could or even should have been the defining tournament of his life.
I personally would be grateful for an explanation as to the following questions:
1. Why can the anti-doping procedure not be conducted immediately after the event, thereby avoiding the possibility of interfering with a fair outcome – the mission of all tournaments?

2. Why is the anti-doping procedure for our sport – one of the most dehydrating known – reliant upon urine samples? Why not hair or blood which is used in other sports and circumstances?

Several respondents have mentioned that Gaultier was made to stay up almost the entire night after his quarter final not the semi – as if this fact excuses the affect that losing a night’s sleep had on him.
This is ludicrous in my opinion.
It takes days to recover from the loss of a night’s sleep when fresh, never mind in the middle of a World Championships when nutrition and rest are at a premium.
We cannot allow this to continue can we?
What kind of Olympic hopeful sport, shoots its players and itself in the foot, in public, and doesn’t even question how it treats participants.
How about never at all if we don’t get our house in order!

Published by millmansquash

Richard Millman, a world renowned Squash Professional, has trained children, high school students, and adults to achieve all levels of proficiency and realize the enjoyment they derive from squash. A multiple time National Coach for the United States, Richard has steered many teams to championships and successes! His students include British Junior Open Champion, Michelle Quibell, as well as multiple National junior and adult champions. With his wife Pat, England’s 2010 Captain of the Ladies over 55+ team, and 2010 US National Champion over 55, Richard brought his vision and enthusiasm for this sport to the United States. A regular contributor to Squash Magazine, Richard is also the co-author of "Raising Big Smiling Squash Kids," with Georgetta Morque, and "Angles, A Squash Anthology." Richard's 30 year love for Squash is infectious. His love for kids is infectious. Put these two loves together, and you can't help but want to get involved as well.

6 thoughts on “Did we fail Greg Gaultier?

  1. What happened with the anti-doping procedure for Greg? I haven’t seen any news on it, and I’m active watching Daily Squash Report and other sites. Can you update the article with a link on what happened?

    If true, it would go a long way to explaining the collapse he experienced. Gaultier is as fit as any of them and mentally has been sharp as ever. It’s almost boring how he accepts referee decisions now, except that the squash is much better which improves the overall product to watch.

    1. Hi Brock,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I agree that the decrease in Gaultier’s arguing has made for a great spectacle in terms of the Squash itself.
      As far as I understand it, after the quarter final and before Greg had to play Moh. El Shorbagy he was made to stay up for the better part of the night to until he could produce a urine sample.

      As a result he got just 3 hours sleep. If you listen to Joey Barringtons commentary on both days there seem to be a number of remarks generally accepting Gaultier’s diminished state.

      Sadly it would seem that no one in authority sees this as a violation.

      I hope things change in the future.
      If we simply accept this kind of impropriety the game will languish in the dark ages – hence my commentary.

  2. Greg Gaultier is really the number 1 player in the world and he has been for quite awhile, the only thing is Greg loses to himself, not to Remy, not to Nick, but to himself. I wish he’d figure that out and go ahead and fix what ails him.

    1. Hi Dashersandbashers,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I think there is a lot in what you say, although for me personally, Greg has not yet demonstrated that he is on a par with Ramy.

      What I do believe is that he is willing to adapt and that he has learned a great deal in the past year.

      If you look at his footwork and his physical focus on the ball now and compare it with say the TOC last year, you are looking at a very different player. Where he used to jump onto the T and get rooted there so that Ramy could wrong foot him, he now uses little steps instead of the big jump that used to plant him and he now orients his entire being toward the ball, maintaining his MPE ( Mental Physical and Emotional primary focus) on the ball. He is also much more relaxed in keeping with the article I wrote for Squash Magazine last two months ago. He has achieved much of what Peter Nicol achieved when Jonathan Power had reduced him to immobility in their first few big meetings and Peter returned home and did amazing amounts of yoga. He then came back totally relaxed and able to change direction nimbly and at will.

      I think Greg has made huge progress, but he still needs to show that he can play four hard matches and maintain mobility. He might well be as tight as Nick now, but he is not as fast or mobile as Ramy and lacks his variation.

      The future holds great promise however and I shall be watching with interest.



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