Bendigo International PSA

Days 1-2

After a long travel day composed of three flights, a bus & a train, I arrived in Bendigo, Australia. Despite my best efforts to fight jet lag by staying up late, I fell asleep at 8pm after having a great dinner at a nearby hotel. Today I woke up and walked around town to get breakfast and groceries. The city is beautiful and full of history. I particularly enjoyed the conservation gardens and military memorial building. Afterwards, I went to the squash club where I soloed and played a couple games with Ruan Olivier (RSA). It was great to  run around and get used to the courts– they are very different from what I’m used to but luckily I have a few days to acclimatize to them.

My first match is against No. 1 seed Milou Van Der Heijden at 11:15AM Friday morning. For everyone back home, its at 7:15pm MST/9:15 EST Thursday night (crazy how big the time change is!) Once the link with the draw is available I will post it on here. I’ll also update the blog throughout the week/weekend.

Days 3-5

I’ve really enjoyed the past few days in Bendigo! I’ve met other players and organizers, explored the city, and have developed a solid training routine. After each practice session I leave the courts feeling more confident and ready for competition. There are various players who I have to thank for helping me prepare and train! Thank you Ruan, Ben Coates (ENG), Omar Bahgat (EGY), David Clegg (AUS), and Jess Turbull (AUS) for the hits! I’ve had a great time getting to know all of you and I really enjoyed our sessions!

Some of the highlights from the past few days have been a 20$ Thai Chi massage at the local marketplace– my back has never felt so good!– a quick photoshoot for the local newspaper alongside Josh Masters (ENG), watching the men’s qualifying/main draw matches, and the players banquet.

Here is a link to the draw!

Day 6

Unfortunately I lost the match today 3-1 (11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 11-6). At the beginning of my match I felt really nervous and tight and had to fight to get the game close. In the second game I felt myself on court and played the way I wanted to. However, in the next two games I had a hard time relaxing and feeling confident. Even though we had some really long rallies in which we were evenly matched, her experience paid off. She made less errors than I did and she hit some killer trickle boasts had trouble getting. I’m pretty disappointed with the result and felt I could have done more in the match; however, it was a great experience and I learned a lot from it. Some positives were (1) I felt that I prepared properly for the match with a good breakfast, solo, stretch, and warm up, (2) my fitness and training have paid off because I never felt tired, and (3), I stuck to my game plan. Some areas I need to improve upon for my next tournament are confidence, consistency, and shot selection. At times I tried to drive the ball down the wall from the front of the court and had a couple strokes against me. What I should have done is either lob it cross court or hit a counter drop. While I am disappointed with the loss, I am optimistic for the next tournament and the rest of the season. This has been a good first tournament– I have learned from the training week leading up to the event and from my match today.

Shout out to Josh Larkin (AUS) & Rhys Dowling (AUS). Thanks for the coaching and cheering!

Day 7

During my last day in Bendigo I had two training sessions: the first with Roee Avraham (ISR), and the second with Jess Turnbull (AUS) and Ondrej Uherka (CZE). To my surprise I wasn’t sore and was hitting the ball well. Afterwards, I watched a few games of the women’s and men’s semifinals, and then returned to my hotel room to pack up for Sydney. I’d like to thank Fiona Young and Richard Cagliarini for organizing and running the tournament, as well as Ruessell McClean and the other employees at the Bendigo Squash Club for hosting the event!

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Canadian Professional Squash Player, Cornell '15

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