New Delhi: Being India`s No. 1 squash player for the past half a decade is a "privilege" for Saurav Ghosal whose immediate aim is to break into the Top-20 in the world ranking.
"More than anything, being India`s number 1 is a privilege. I love what I do and every day I try to be the best I can," Ghosal said.
"I`m 22 in the world this month and am really close to breaking into the top 20. I`m hoping to have a strong end to the year and break that barrier," he added.
The six-time national champion, Ghosal, first won the title in September 2006 when he had defeated Gaurav Nandrajog at the National Championships in New Delhi and since then, he has remained unconquered.
The 26-year-old will start his 76th month on the top of the domestic rankings, with the World Open in Qatar starting from December 7.
Does he feel the pressure of living up to the expectations? The reply from the diminutive Kolkata-born player was as smooth as his approach on the squash court.
"Honestly, when I`m playing a match I don`t really think of other people`s expectations. I just go out there, enjoy myself and do all I can to win," he said.
Ghosal, who will be back in his hometown for the Senior Nationals from December 18 to 23 next month, believed that he is playing the best squash ever of his career, which has helped him make "real progress" with his game this season.
"I`m playing the best squash I ever have. I think I`ve made some real progress this season. I`m physically good at the moment and I`m working hard all the time to get better. I guess I need one big win and the floodgates will probably open after that," he said.
Ghosal played well against some of the top-ranked players on the circuit -- like Gregory Gaultier and Ramy Ashour recently, but lacked the ability to finish off the games.
Asked about what`s missing in his game and why haven`t he not being able to deliver the knockout punch, the Arjuna awardee said, "The players you have mentioned are among the best in the world right now and probably among the best of all time. I was able to push these guys really close. Until last season, I wasn`t really troubling them."
"Of course, I`m disappointed that I haven`t managed to actually beat them. I don`t think there`s (anything) particular lacking in my game. However, I have to keep my head down and produce top performances consistently. I`m sure the wins will come soon if I keep playing at a high level," he added.
Ghosal said he had been working hard on his fitness for the future tournaments.
"I`m really glad to say that physically I feel good and I really hope it stays that way. Fingers crossed!"
The Leeds-based racqueter, whose next PSA event will be the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Open starting November 27th, said that Squash has all the ingredients to become a part of the Olympics. A strong bid for its inclusion in the 2020 edition has been made.
"There`s a complicated procedure in place for a sport to be included into the Olympics. Squash has all the ingredients to be part of the Olympics and it is a complete travesty that we don`t get to show what we are capable of at the Olympics. A strong bid has been made for squash`s inclusion in the Olympics in 2020. So everyone, please `Back the Bid 2020`," he signed off.