Who are some of the greatest male squash players of all times? Through this article we will discuss some of the best men’s players to have graced the international circuit.
When the preeminent men’s squash player Ramy Ashour announced his retirement from professional squash in 2019, it brought to an end a career which wowed the hearts and minds of squash fanatics world over.
The frequent injuries and retirements from matches brought a premature end to the career of a player who many say could have gone on to become the greatest squash player ever.
Here’s a list of some of the greatest squash players on the men’s circuit.
Statistics do not always do justice to the greatness of a sportsman. However, in the case of this Pakistani legend, just the numbers are enough to position him at the top of the list of greatest squash players.
With 555 successive wins, 10 British Open titles and six World Championship crowns, the dominance of Jahangir Khan over the sport is unmatched.
In fact, the 555 successive wins is the longest recorded winning streak in any top-level professional sport.
Jahangir won his first World Championship trophy at the age of just 17. By defeating the squash legend Geoff Hunt to win the event, he became the youngest ever World Champion ever.
Over the next six years Jahangir won four more World Championship crowns and five British Open triumphs. After losing the 1986 World Championship final to New Zealander Ross Norman, Jahangir re-commenced his reign at the top by wining the same event in 1988 and five British Open trophies between 1987-1991.
Jahangir retired from professional squash in 1993 after helping Pakistan win the World Team Championships. He later served as President of the World Squash Federation (WSF) between 2002-2008.
While Jahangir went nearly unchallenged for most of the 1980s, world squash saw the arrival of another Pakistani great.
Jansher Khan took the world stage by storm as the potential heir to Jahangir’s throne. Over the years, Jansher and Jahangir played against each other 37 times competitively, with Jansher coming out trumps on 19 occasions.
In 1987, Jansher won his first World Championship in 1987 as a teenager and with that rose to the summit of the World Rankings. The No. 1 spot kept getting traded between the two Pakistani players right through the 1990s.
Jansher Khan won the World Championships a record eight times and also added six British Open titles to a glittering trophy-haul.
He spent a total of 97 months ranked as world number 1, three better than his arch rival. The essence of Jansher’s game were his swiftness around the court and sharp reflexes.
However, as his knees started to give away towards the end of the century, Jansher finally called it quits in 2001.
With 99 professional title wins, Jansher hung his racquet as arguably the greatest squash player in history. With his retirement, ended the Pakistani hegemony at the top of the squash ladder.
The limited number of championship wins next to his name do not do justice to Ramy Ashour’s greatness. Often declared as the ‘most talented racquet sport player ever’, Ramy is a modern great.
Ever since he made his appearance as a teenage prodigy, Ramy was marked for greatness. The aura around Ramy grew further with his unconventional style of play and humorous post match interviews.
Ashour won five major titles in 1997 including the World Series Finals. In 2008 he defeated Karim Darwish to claim the World Championship.
During the 2012-13 season, Ramy became the first player since Jansher Khan to reach the final of every event that he took part in.
He went 15 months and 49 matches without getting beaten, in the process winning nine consecutive titles. However, a series of injuries limited his international appearances in tournaments from the end of 2013 onward.
Ramy had his last hurrah in the World Championship’s in 2014 when he beat a red hot Mohamed ElShorbagy in what is considered as one of the greatest matches ever played.
That he managed to pull it off after returning from a six month injury lay off further adds to the enigma that is Ramy Ashour. The Egyptian ended with 3 World Champions wins, one British Open win and 4- PSA Tour Titles.
‘The Maestro’ as this southpaw was often referred to, won four world championships and 33 PSA world tour titles. He was also a part of the Egyptian team which won the Men’s World Team Squash Championship in 1999 and 2009.
Considered as the first of the many great Egyptian players to dominate squash, Shabana has a number of firsts to his credit.
The year 2003 marked him out for greatness when he beat a star studded line up to win the World Open in Pakistan.
Overcoming stalwarts like David Palmer, Karim Darwish and Theirry Lincou, Shabana became Egypt’s first winner of the World Championship. He also became the first Egyptian player to reach the World No. 1 ranking in April 2006.
‘The Wolf’ as he has been christened, Nick Matthew was known for his drive to succeed at all costs, and his athleticism.
By defeating Frenchman Thierry Lincou in 2006, Matthew became the first English player to win the British Open men’s title since 1939. He followed that up by rising to the top of the men’s World Rankings in 2009.
With successive World Champion title wins in 2012 and 2013, Nick stamped his authority on the sport. The win in 2012 made him the the first Englishman in the event’s 35-year history to win the tournament.
In 2015, Matthew triumphed at the Windy City Open to become the oldest ever winner of a PSA World Series event at the age of 34.
With three World Championships, three British Open titles and 35 PSA World Tour championship wins, Nick Matthew sits on the top of the pile of squash players from England.
When Mohamed Elshorbagy won the Manchester Open on 22nd Sep 2020, he moved to fifth position on the list of championship winners.
Coached by Jonah Barrington, ElShorbagy rose to prominence in 2007 by becoming the first player in history to secure a maiden PSA World Tour title at a five star event. He first achieved the World No. 1 rank for the first time in November 2014.
From December 2015 to April 2016 Elshorbagy dominated the PSA World Tour by winning six successive World Series title wins.
He even broke compatriot Ramy Ashour’s record for the highest ever World Rankings points average in April. He followed that up by shattering the record again a month later. For his exceptional performances through the year, he was crowned the 2016 PSA Men’s Player of the Year.
As on today, the Egyptian has three British Open and one World Championship trophy in his cabinet.
Widely known for his deception and superior shot making ability, Jonathan Power is the first North American to be ranked world No. 1.
In 2016, Power returned to the World No.1 ranking, four-and-a-half years after the previous time he was ranked in the top spot (marking the longest gap between periods of holding the World No.1 ranking of any player in history).
Having won 36 PSA world tour events and reached the finals of 58 such events, Power is a certified legend of the game.
The Canadian had a fierce rivalry with Peter Nicol often leading to him having emotional outbursts during intense matches.
In addition to the multitude of PSA tour events, Power ended his career with one World series tournament win and one British Open victory.
The face of French Tennis, Gregory Gaultier is also known as ‘ The General’. The temperamental player has come a long way from his initial inconsistent days. His longevity has made him the first player from the modern era to have played over 700 matches.
Gaultier came into prominence when he won the US Open Crown in the year 2006. This was followed by a finals showing in the World Championship.
His attempts to win the most coveted prize in world squash met roadblocks as he lost in the finals of the 2007, 2011 and 2013 world championships.
However, the 2015 edition finally saw him clinching the trophy, thus making him only the second Frenchman after Thierry Lincou to win the World Championship.
Having found a second wind for his career, Gaultier went on a six-tournament winning streak in 2017 as he dominated the PSA World Tour to become the oldest squash World No.1 in history.
He has 40 PSA tour titles, 3 British Open wins and 1 World Championship win to his credit.
This prolific Australian player spent a total of 59 months as world number 1. With four world championship titles, eight British Open wins, Geoff Hunt was the biggest name in squash till the Khans from Pakistan made their presence felt.
Hunt also has the distinction of becoming the first ever World Champion in the sport of squash, when he won the trophy in 1976. That win set in motion a run of three successive Championship trophies.
At the age of 33, Hunt captured his last World Championship crown in 1980. Having lost in the finals of the event in the subsequent year, Geoff Hunt decided to call it a day, thus bringing to end the career of squash’s first great champion.
While Jonah Barrington had several championship wins to his name, he will more known as the man who brought professionalism to the sport.
Being the first full-time squash player, Barrington broke multiple barriers to bring the sport out of obscurity.
After winning his first British Open title in 1967, Barrington was crowned champion five more times over the next six years. His rivalry with Australian Geoff Hunt remains as one of the most revered facets of the sport.
Barrington is also known as the father of the ‘ghosting technique’ which has become such an important part of players’ practice routines. In 1973, he set up the Professional Players’ Association and chaired the association for eight years, bringing a number of revolutionary changes.
Since retirement, the legendary squash player has served as President of the Squash Rackets Association for several years.
Final Words on the Best Male Squash Players
There have been a few others like Qamar Zaman, Hashim Khan and Chris Dittmar who have performed remarkably at the highest level but as far as sheer consistency goes, not too many who could pip the aforementioned from this list.