After retiring from the PSA World Tour at the end of 2021, Grégory Gaultier will make a one-off return next week in Mauritius, in a tournament where he is one of the organizers and which will gather all the best players in the world. Read our interview with the French General.
Being close to promoter Rémy Mabillon and involved in RM Club, Grégory Gaultier has been playing an active part in the organization of the Necker Mauritius Open 2022 Presented by Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels.
Grégory Gaultier (on the right) with Rémy Mabillon, at the 2018 Necker Pro Squash Open
For several months, I’ve been in touch with the organizing team in Mauritius on a daily basis. They’ve worked very hard to deliver the best possible event, for both players and spectators. We are fortunate enough to have a very nice club, and having a permanent glass court is a big plus because setting it up and taking it down are very tedious tasks. As far as the women’s tournament goes, we were able to set it up thanks to the financial support of one of my sponsors, Expression Networks. The initial project was to have a women’s tournament in the other RM Club in Annecy (author’s note: the Annecy Rose Open took place at the beginning of April) and then men’s in Mauritius, but it is always better to have both at the same time. ”
9 players from the world top 10 will feature in the Necker Mauritius Open 2022
“Needless to say the lineup is fantastic, with almost all best in the world featuring – knowing that some of them came to Mauritius before, for the exhibition tournaments. There are worse places to play at, and most players will probably stay an extra day or two to visit the island. Besides, several of them play for Annecy in French league, and we have the playoffs in Nantes the following weekend.
It’s hard to make predictions for the tournament because the schedule has been very busy lately, some players will be in better form than others and some may be carrying a few niggles. However, one thing I can tell you is that the standard was very high at the quarterfinals of the World Championship, and if we have the same eight players at the same stage in Mauritius, it promises to be a great night.”
After having retired from the PSA World Tour in October 2021, Grégory Gaultier recently made a appearance with the French national team at the European Championship (les Bleus were beaten in the final by England), and will feature in the Necker Mauritius Open as a wildcard.
“The initial plan was to end my career in Mauritius, but the tournament was postponed several times due to the pandemic so it wasn’t possible. I am happy to take part in this event, both for myself and because I will be able to share this moment with the people at the RM Club. However, it will definitely be my last PSA tournament (he laughs). I’ve been very busy with coaching duties lately, but I was able to put a good block of training in the last few days, in order to prepare myself as best as I can. I have a tough first round against Youssef Soliman, but I am still a competitor and I will obviously do everything I can to win.”
Grégory Gaultier has been advising Mohamed ElShorbagy for the past few weeks: the Egyptian paid tribute to the French General on social media, sayig that their work together was one of the main reasons behind his great run at the World Championship – where he made the final a few days ago.
“At the end of January, Mohamed sent me a message, explaining that he was going through a very rough patch – to the extent that he considered ending his career – and he asked for my help. The problem was that my schedule for the next few months is very busy, and I did not want to commit to this unless I was fully focused. So I took some time to reflect, and a month later I told him I was ok with it. Mohamed already came to Prague a couple of times (author’s note: Gaultier lives in the capital of Czech Republic with his family), not only I can go on court with him but there are also many players whom he can train with here. The goal was to put him back on track and allow him to turn a new leaf: amongst the best players, he’s the one who’s been at the top for the longest time and maybe he needed a new prospective. The first thing I did was analyzing his game, as well as this of his opponents, and I suggested some tweaks.
He is 31, which means he doesn’t have the same physical abilities than a few years ago, and he can’t afford to rely only on that aspect of the game. We just started working together, and it was great that I was able to go to Cairo for the World Championship. Reaching the final is a reward for his perseverance and hard work, and I’m happy for him. Even though he didn’t win, he was rather pleased, not only because if you’d told him he’d found himself in this position two months ago he would have signed with both hands, but also because he had a good performance in the final, he was two points away from winning. (We ask him if they are likely to keep on working together). Of course, we didn’t start this to stop right away! It takes some time, but the both of us are willing to commit. We talk on the phone every day, and Mohamed will come to Prague in August to prepare for the next season.”