Had a great month of training in Calgary. After a long string of tournaments I had a better opportunity to break things down and make some larger adjustments to my game.
I’m flying to the Netherlands in the hopes of getting into the DPD Open 100k event. Currently, I am the number one reserve, so if anyone pulls out I will be able to play. However, if I don’t get into the event I’m planning on training and playing some practice matches to prepare for the El Gouna International Squash Open in Egypt.
My first round in El Gouna will be on April 17th against Milou van der Heijden! I haven’t played her since 2015 when I first started playing full time so I’m excited to see how it goes!
For the first time in a while it felt like everything came together at the right time. I landed in Hong Kong where I was sharing a small room with three other girls, and even though only one of us could open our bags or stand at a time, we had a blast! We spent our first day training and getting used to the venue.
First round of qualifying started and I was up against local player Ho Ka Wing. Going into the match I felt prepared and in the right mind set. We played the first game and I won it comfortably 11-3. Between the first and second game, a male spectator was angry that I was wearing shorts (even though they are allowed by PSA). There was some confusion among the referees and they wanted to make me wear a skirt over top of my shorts. After some debate and discussion, play was allowed to continue as normal and I was allowed to wear shorts. I won’t lie though, it through me for a loop and I felt self conscious about the whole debacle. However, it didn’t show in my squash. I managed to stay process oriented and won the next two games comfortably.
Onto the second round of qualifying against Jenny Duncalf (ENG). I had hit with her once or twice in practice, but never in a match. Going into the game I expected her to hit accurate shots and have strong deception from the front of the court. After a long warm up and mental prep I felt ready to compete. Everything came together in this match and I felt very relaxed and focused, fast and balanced, and comfortable attacking. It was an incredible feeling and I am ecstatic to have won that match in three games and to qualify for my first World Series event.
Due to the split first round I enjoyed a day off from competition. I went to the club and had a light practice, then watched some other first round matches.
For my first round match I played Nicol David (MAL). Going into the match, I was nervous because there were new obstacles to overcome and I wanted to play well. After a long warm up I felt ready to play, but was shocked in the first game. Her pace of play was higher, and the court took a lot of getting used to; it bounced fast off the front wall, but didn’t bounce high off the ground. I lost the first game 11-2. In the second game I felt I adjusted better and sped up my movement and reacted quicker. While we stayed close for the first half of the game, she pulled away winning it 11-6. I felt great in the third and fourth games. I pushed myself further up on the T and tried to attack more, and had better racket preparation. It enabled me to hit my attacking shots, instead of hitting the tin, and to react quicker to her pace. While I lost the match, it was a very positive experience for me. Nicol has always been one of my favourite players on tour and someone I’ve always looked up to. I really enjoyed playing against her and felt I learned a lot about my own game.
After spending a week in Florida, taking a week off squash, I arrived in New York excited to play and compete in the Carol Weymuller Open. Even though I hadn’t touched a racket or even thought about squash in a week, I was confident that I was going to play well and that my decision to take a mental break was what I needed.
My first round of qualifying was against Mariam Metwally, a young but strong Egyptian, who is currently ranked 21 in the world. While the first two games were close, I unfortunately dug myself into a hole and was down 2-0. In the third game, we battled deep into extra points where I won 16-14. We had long, dynamic rallies in the first three games, but in the fourth game she stopped running and resorted to shooting which allowed me to tie up the match. I knew that she would come out stronger in the fifth game, but I didn’t adjust my game plan back to what was originally working. I was shooting a little too early and found myself down 9-3. Fortunately, I refocused and worked my way back to 9-10 by hitting deep, tight length and keeping the ball in play. Unfortunately, I fell one point short in my comeback effort and lost the match 11-9 in the fifth.
Even though I didn’t get the result I wanted, it was the first time in a while where I was relaxed, focused on process, and enjoying myself on court. After this match, I felt confident and carried this same mindset into the Granite Open in Toronto.
I spent four days training in Toronto before the tournament started. Normally I don’t like to spend that much time in one place before an event because I tend to over think, but in this case, arriving early really allowed me to adjust to the colder court and the 19” tin.
My first round match was against Haley Mendez (USA, ranked 51). I played her once before in April in Charlottesville and won 3-0. I was a little nervous going into this match because I had trained with her a couple weeks prior to this event and knew she had improved her game. In the first game we exchanged points until 6-6, but then I started to settle in because I felt my movement and attacking shots were working. I pulled away in the first gaining a 1-0 lead, then I kept the momentum and won the next two games comfortably.
In the quarterfinals I played Millie Tomlinson (ENG, ranked #22). Millie and I have played countless times throughout university and once on the PSA circuit. I had a clear game plan going into the match of what I wanted to do. The first game was close, but I lost it 12-10. In the second game I was distracted by things outside my control and I lost 11-4. It was frustrating but I managed to regroup for the third and fourth games, where I managed to sneak out on top, pushing us to a fifth set. Similar to my match in New York, I dug myself into a big hole that I almost climbed out of, only to lose 11-7. It was frustrating being so close and losing, but I was still happy with how I played and how I was able to stick to my mental processes.
After being away for 6 weeks, I was very happy to return back to Calgary. Since being home I have spent time with family and friends, and working on my fitness and various aspects of my game.
Thank you Linda & Jess for organizing and running these two events. Always appreciate the work you put in to ensure the tournaments run smoothly and that all the players are taken care of.
Huge thank you to the Dietz’ and Lolly for hosting me during these two events!
Thank you Nicole, Hollie, Nikki & Catalina for coaching me during my various matches!
All quarterfinal matches are shown above, with my match starting around the 54 minute mark.
After a rough couple of weeks on tour, I decided to take a quick break from squash and fly down to Florida to visit my boyfriend. I am currently sitting poolside in 32°C weather and enjoying life. It’s taken me a while to write a blog and recap my last couple weeks on tour because they haven’t been going the way I’ve wanted but taking this time off away from squash has been eye opening and has helped me reflect on recent experiences.
Unlike most tournaments, I arrived in San Francisco on the same day as my match. I was nervous going into the event because if there were any delays I might not make it in time to play, and if my flight arrived on time, would I be able to play high quality squash after a 5-hour flight? Fortunately travel went smoothly and I even had good company doing it as I traveled with Hollie Naughton who, despite having Nexus, waited patiently in all the long lines with me.
When we arrived at the courts I had three hours before my match to get my mind and body working. I felt pretty good and ready to play, but once I stepped on court it felt like I was just there, but not there to compete. I was playing Latasha Khan in the first round of qualifying. I had never played her before but heard that before she retired from squash, she was a really good player. We had some good rallies early on but I felt myself get too comfortable and relax a little too much, making silly errors and decisions, and being flat on my feet. The match was far from pretty but I was able to pull it out which was a relief.
After my match I caught a ride to my billet family’s house and we went for dinner at a delicious Burmese restaurant. I had never had it before but strongly recommend it!! I flew to Toronto the following day
The next day I played Sam Cornett… again. I had a game plan in my mind about what I wanted to do and how to play against her, but when it came to execution it felt like nothing was working and Sam took advantage. I was tense and hit my length short and forcing my short shots too early and missing them. To Sam’s credit she was able to contain me in the back corners and then hit some fantastic drops.
Fortunately my two friends from Cornell- Jesse and Sydney Francis- came to watch my game, and went with me to get some frozen yogurt afterwards to cheer me up. It was great 🙂
I took the next couple days off squash and enjoyed San Francisco. Misaki, Amanda and I rented bikes from the pier and biked across the Golden Gate Bridge and into Sausalito, took a ferry back to the pier where we had crepes. The following day I relaxed at my billets and got myself organized, then I went into the city and did a spin class at Soul Cycle with Jesse and Sydney Chirls.
I flew to Toronto the following day for an exhibition in Kitchener with Hollie. It was great playing at the Northfield Club and meeting a lot of new squash players out east. We had a decent crowd, and a really fun match. Hollie and I had some great rallies and hit a couple nicks. Thank you to Salming Squash, Control the T Sports and Northfield Club for having us!
The following day I drove back to Barrie to do a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. It was great that we could piggy back this event onto my exhibition in Kitchener. For three hours I played anyone who wanted to hit in exchange for donations. There were a lot of people who showed up, including John Brassard (Barrie-Innisfil’s MP) and CTV news. Overall the day was a success and we raised 1000$ for H&S.
I got a ride back to Toronto where I did a quality training session with Hollie. We played a lot of condition games and I felt I worked out any kinks in my game. We then went to Dileas’ house for a tasty dinner, then out to downtown Toronto to check out Nuit Blanche, which is a night where local artists showcase their work. The following day I was able to catch up with some friends from home and it was really nice seeing some familiar faces.
After a couple solid days of training in Toronto at the Granite Club and TAC with Nikki, I flew down to Philadelphia for the U.S. Open. Out of all of my recent tournaments, this is the one I was looking forward to the most because it was a great opportunity to get points and have a breakthrough win. My first round of qualifying was against Coline Aumard from France. I played her once before two years ago and the Tournament of Champions. I expected it to be a physical match and a mental match. We had some great rallies but I lost 3-0. She was playing well and wasn’t missing any of her shots, but I also felt very hesitant on court and despite trying to focus on my process, I was thinking about external factors that I couldn’t control.
Hollie came and coached me during this match and we had a great conversation once it was over. It really helped talking things out and realize that I’ve been putting too much pressure on myself this season. Instead of playing and just enjoying competing, I’ve been wanting to have a good win so bad that it has been holding me back. I’ve been trying too hard and focusing on the wrong things.
After taking a few days off and taking some time to reflect, I feel a lot more relaxed and calm and feel that a weight as been lifted off my shoulders . I’ve been staying active, but haven’t been worrying about outcome or rankings or points. My next tournament, starting next week, is the Carol Weymuller in Brooklyn. I’m really looking forward to getting on court again and just enjoying competing and the process.
I’ve been looking forward to Nash Cup all year. Its one of my favourite events- partly because I had a great result last year- but mainly because the atmosphere at the club is incredible. Everyone is very welcoming, excited about squash, and easy to talk to.
Nash Cup started out a little rough this year. The morning after I landed in London I woke up with food poisoning and spent the morning getting sick. However, I was determined to go hit at the club and try to get used to the courts. I had a hit with Misaki, and while it was better than expected, I felt pretty weak and tired. Luckily, after a day of lounging at the courts, I started to feel better and slowly regained my appetite. That night I watched a couple of qualifying matches before having dinner back at my billets.
On Wednesday I woke up with a lot of energy and felt great and ready to compete. I played Alison Thompson from England. I played her once before two years ago but hadn’t played her since; however, I had seen her play many times and knew she would run down every ball and would be a tough competitor. Once our match started I felt really confident on court, everything was working, and I was able to control a lot of the rallies. Happy to win 3-0.
Onto the quarters against Fiona Moverley! Fiona and I have competed at many of the same tournaments, but have never played against each other. Going into the match I knew she would be tough to beat since she has really good ball control and plays at a fast pace. While I put up a good fight, the match didn’t end in my favour and I lost 3-1. I’m disappointed with the result but overall I feel like my game is coming along and I am making smarter decisions and dealing with the pressure better than I used to.
My next tournament- the Netsuite Open- starts Sunday, September 24th in San Francisco. My first round match will be in qualifying against Latasha Khan. Wish me luck!
I landed in Hong Kong late Friday night and made it to my hotel where I was rooming with Jess Turnbull. The following day we went to the courts and had a practice session, followed by a workout. The courts were very different compared to Calgary’s since we were at sea level but after a few more days of practice I felt comfortable on them.
In the days leading up to the event, when I wasn’t practicing, I was able to explore Hong Kong. Jess and I found a local fish market, Times Square, and some nice places to eat. While I got used to the food and enjoyed trying new things, I found the food less filling compared to food at home so it was harder to tell if I had eaten enough or eaten the right things. However, when it came to my match I felt like I had a lot of energy so must have done something right.
The night before my match, me and a few other PSA players helped out at a junior clinic and I was blown away by the quality of squash these kids were playing. It was a lot of fun and nice to give back.
My first round match was against Tesni Evans (WAL) who had just reached a career high ranking of #15. She put me under enormous pressure from the get-go. Her length and attacking shots were better than mine and I felt I was on the defence. I felt I played better as the match progressed and started to feel more confident towards the end but she was the better player.
I would have liked to have a closer match, but I learned a lot from this experience and have found new gaps in my game that I am already working to improve on. It was a good shock to start the season off and to motivate me even more to raise my game to reach the next level.
The day after my match, I hiked up Victoria Peak with Janet Vidhi and boy was it beautiful! Once we were done we went to a local restaurant where we tried chicken feet and dim sum. Yum 🙂 Then I went to the courts and played a practice match against Tong Tsz-Wing. It was a tough but fun match and I’m happy I made the most of my training while I was there.
My next event is the Nash Cup in London, Ontario. Hoping to play well and defend my 2016 title!
The upcoming season is fast approaching and I am really excited to start competing. I had a great but balanced summer filled with training, hiking, biking, camping, and spending time with friends and family. I didn’t have any competitions except for the World Doubles Team Trials in Moncton. At trials there were 4 women and 6 men and we played doubles and mixed doubles to determine who would go to Manchester in August. I felt really good on court, but unfortunately didn’t make the team. However, I made the best of my summer and was able to work on my fitness, movement, and technical parts of my game.
My season starts up in one week in Hong Kong!! I’ve never been to Hong Kong so I’m excited to experience it for the first time.
More updates to come!