Franklin advances after disrespectful’ withdrawal
Micah Franklin cut a frustrated figure despite advancing to the squash plate semi-finals after his opponent forfeited their match after just one minute on court.
Franklin was excited about testing himself against Tayyab Aslam, who is 114th in the world, but the Pakistani withdrew because of injury after losing the opening two points.
It is unclear why Aslam, whose left knee was bandaged, chose to go through the motions of warming-up and starting the match when he had no intention of completing the consolation tie.
Patrick Foster, Franklin’s coach, has accused Aslam of showing disrespect and suspected he was keeping fresh for the doubles.
“Some of the players are more comfortable walking on, shaking hands, and saying they’re injured rather than taking a withdrawal at the office,” said Foster, a former world No 75. “Personally I wouldn’t do that. I find it a little bit disrespectful.”
Franklin had already won his first plate game after Saurav Ghosal, of India, also conceded a walkover. Ghosal, the world No 13, crashed out of the medal competition after a shock defeat to Jamaica’s Chris Binnie.
“I don’t want to speculate, maybe he is injured,” Franklin said of Aslam’s forfeit.
“I wish he had pulled out or let me know earlier, though, because I’ve prepared the whole day and had people come down to support me. It would have saved them a trip and me the sake of warming up. There are practice courts here so I’m still going to have a training session [with Foster].”
Franklin said he understood Ghosal’s withdrawal after his “brutal” five-game defeat to Binnie.
“It’s a random occurrence to have two withdrawals in a row,” the 25-year-old said. “[Ghosal] had a brutal match the day before where he just lost.
“I think it was more of a case of him saving himself and pulling himself out as a precaution because of the doubles.”
As for Aslam’s withdrawal, Franklin admits he is bemused,
“I don’t understand it,” said the world No 212. “It’s not the first time it’s happened to me, either.
“Sometimes they get on court and say, ‘That’s it’. But I’m into the semi-finals and I’m fresh.”
Foster said he was disappointed that Franklin had been denied an opportunity to face of player of Aslam’s calibre.
“There have been some errors with scheduling and we only found out at the last minute we were playing today.
“Micah’s pretty amenable to helping out and didn’t make a fuss. We rushed through the afternoon to get ready for tonight and then we get here and that happens.
“It would have nice, as they obviously knew he wasn’t going to play, if they had told us beforehand or even said something down the side of court. Just so Micah’s not bouncing around ready to play a guy in the top 100 and then to be left flat like that. Micah just wants to play and to play someone of this level from Pakistan is not an everyday opportunity for him.”