Aly Abou Eleinen happened to be born on January 1st, 2000 at the turn of the millennium, which could be an unconscious factor in his desire to establish himself as one of the elite squash players of the millennium.
Hailing from Egypt, Eleinen is preparing for his senior season for Penn Squash and is expected to have another big year after a second season he has already been to as viewed first team CSA All-America and unanimously named first team All-Ivy.
His junior season was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19, but Eleinen found a way to make the most of the year and the following summer with what he called an “internship” on the professional squash circuit.
“So my coaches, my family and I decided that we wanted to pursue this professionally and get myself fit after college,” said Eleinen. “This summer I played professional squash tournaments in Egypt, Denmark and the USA. I think this will put me in a good position when I graduate. I’m right there to compete with the best players. ”
Eleinen, currently ranked 125th in the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Ranking, believes his last tournament in Marietta Ga., Where he upset numbers 100, 97, 52 and 40 in the world, will put him in the top 100.
In addition to participating in numerous tournaments, Eleinen completed a strict training program and met with mental trainers, nutrition trainers as well as strength and conditioning trainers throughout the summer. In addition, he also tracked his training in Excel to see how he could improve his game.
“I would approach it like a job that was definitely very tough,” said Eleinen. “And it was definitely a lot of hard work [that was] Physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting, but it was absolutely worth it. I love doing it. ”
Constantly defeating the best squash players in the world and working on continuously improving oneself certainly seems to indicate that Eleinen is capable of turning pro.
“I definitely think he has the ability and what he did this summer was that he put himself into the work,” said Lane. “He trained like a pro to see how it was and the results show. I think people now know who he is on the world stage, and having played the World Tour myself, I know he will be very successful. ”
“The goal right now is of course to move up the leaderboard as much as possible so that after graduation he can go straight on tour and play some of the bigger events, but I have no doubt if he sticks around long enough is he will put himself in a position to be one of the best. ”
While coach Lane and Eleinen have their professional ambitions in their sights – which Eleinen has had in mind since he was 10 – the Egyptian still has his A-season to complete.
For Lane this is a welcome surprise considering how much he likes Eleinen from a coaching point of view.
“He grew up with soccer – a team sport – and has carried those team values to an individual sport like squash,” Lane said. “But from day one, he set an example with his work ethic, came in and worked extremely hard, and established himself as number two on the team pretty quickly. Over the past few years he’s just matured and his game has grown and grown and he has become a world class squash player. ”
“For me as a coach, it’s just an absolute thrill to be there. I hope I teach him something, but he teaches me a lot of things every day, and [I’m] I’m just very lucky to be able to work with someone like him. ”
Now that the sport is finally back in full swing, Eleinen has been energized by what he has called “incredible” over the past few weeks. In addition to a new group of freshmen entering the team, a couple of seniors from last year are returning for a fifth year. Eleinen is likely to become a key leader and asset to the group, especially given his overall 34-9 record as a Quaker.
Once this next season is over, Eleinen will fully begin his professional squash career, which he hopes will eventually end in becoming a top five or top 10 player in the world, if not that Number one.
If your past is any clue, maybe becoming one of the world’s greatest squash players isn’t that far-fetched.