R2: Youssef S, Ali, Mohamed, Nicolas

12.45 Matches :
[9/16] Youssef Soliman (Egy) 3-1 Sebastien Bonmalais (Fra)   11-6, 11-9, 2-11, 11-1 (54m)
[1] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-0 Curtis Malik (Eng)   11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (34m)
[6] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Eng) 3-1 Iker Pajares (Esp)   11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 (62m)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 3-1 Raphael Kandra (GER)   7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 (46m)

Ali : I love the fact that Curtis comes in, he wants to win, I was 7/1 up in the 2nd, and I thought he was going to throw this one away, and get going in the 3rd again, but he kept on fighting, he kept on getting the ball back, changing his tactics. I admire that.

Because of that attitude, I know he is going to go far, but for me I’m very happy I was able to win 3/0. What makes me want to win?? The fact I lost that week! It doesn’t make me happy. At all!

As sour and as bad as a loss makes me feel, it fires me up for the next one. I don’t think I necessarily played badly last week, my opponent was on fire, but I just have to find a better way to play him and the other opponents. And that puts a fire in my belly.

You know, I have my mum with me, my cousin, my wife and Farida, of course, and if things go well and I can progress in the tournament further, other members of the family will join us later on. And that always helps, having a family environment. You have to do your job, obviously, but like on my morning off, on a day off, you have things to take your mind off the matches, and that definitely helps and keeps your hunger.

Nicolas : I think it was a very good match. I was a bit asleep in the first game and he played very well, but then I started to wake up and find my targets. I’m over the moon to be in the third round.

He beat me the last time when we played in the Czech Republic and I beat him the time before. We know each other’s game well.

Ali is number one in the World and I’m looking forward to playing him on the glass. I think I’m one of the last guys to beat him even if wasn’t at 100 percent!

Mohamed : I just pulled off from London Open because I just needed a little break. I was playing tournament after tournament, after tournament, and I lost a lot of 3/2 matches this season, something I don’t normally do. I’m normally good in 5ths games.

So far this season, I’ve played 15 events, and I lost 8 of them 3/2. I felt I had to stop and refresh a bit mentally. I would like to take a longer break if I could, but during the season, it’s the longest I’ll have and I’m happy to be back playing.

Very different situation to be playing on traditional courts. I’m use to play on the glass. But in a way, it’s good not to be the centre of attention for a little while, I’ve been the centre of attention for the past 15 years, and it’s very tiring, I tell you.

I’m playing early today, and again tomorrow, and I’m happy.

I still want to compete, because I want to play the Commonwealth Games in 2 years, and the Olympics in 4 years. Everything else I have achieved, everything I wanted to achieve, I have done, and I am very blessed to feel this way.

It’s very difficult to stay hungry when you have achieved everything you wanted to achieve. Some days now I’m very up, some days I’m very down. I don’t have the mental consistency I normally have. That’s why I have my team around me, to try and keep me motivated.

At times, I feel burnt out, but I’m happy to be here at the end of the day. I accept to be burnt out because I’ve been blessed to win a lot. But sometimes, this season, I’ve gone out of a loss when I would win a tie break in the third, and then lose a very easy fourth and fifth. I’ll go out of the match, I’ll accept it, but I know it’s time beating me, more than my opponent. I know I’m not going to feel good every tournament, but there are days I’m going to be very dangerous, like the World Teams, the Olympics, hopefully, and that’s what I’m trying to target for now.

I’m happy to be playing, I’m happy to be on court, but I still want to win all the time, and when I lose, I just accept it as far as I can find a way to win the following match….

Another El Gouna: I haven’t missed one edition, and that’s a win in itself, that I’ve never been injured for any of the events, and that makes me feel blessed.