New South Wales Open

Days 1-4:

Early Sunday morning, I travelled to Sydney where one of my close friends picked me up and brought me home to stay with her and her family for the night. Even though it has only been a week away from home, it was wonderful to see familiar faces. They showed me the beach, and an amazing view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Oprah House. Afterwards, we relaxed, ate dinner, and watched some Australian T.V. It was a great way to spend my rest day!

However, after saying my goodbyes the following morning, it was back to business! I drove to the Thornleigh Squash Centre, soloed, did court sprints, movement, and a few other exercises. The courts and the facility are great! They have nine courts, all of which are warm and bouncy, a T.V that only plays squash videos, massage chairs, and a ping pong table. After relaxing on the massage chairs for a couple hours I went to my billets house.

Yesterday, due to a High School squash round robin, there were no courts available until the afternoon, ergo I went for a walk around the neighbourhood and skyped with family. In the afternoon, Ruan shocked me out of my relaxed state during our hit. We drilled and then played a condition match where I was allotted 5 points at the start of each game. At first I couldn’t find my swing or movement; however, towards the end of the hit I felt comfortable, confident, and fast on court.

Today was an enjoyable day. Since the round robin was still on, I took the train downtown and tried to play at the City Tattersalls Club. Unfortunately, after a long train ride, I discovered that the court was in the men’s section of the club and that I couldn’t play squash. Consequently, I sprinted on the treadmill, ripped my core apart, then stretched. Even though I was unable to hit, I enjoyed being downtown. Sydney is a beautiful city and I wish I could stay longer to explore every part of it! In the afternoon, I went back to Thornleigh and had a great hit with Milou and Cyrielle Pelletier (FRA). We drilled and played games. Thank you both for the hit!!

Tomorrow I am playing Stephanie Wighton (AUS) in the qualifying draw. Our match is at 3:00pm AEST (11:00pm MST, 1:00am EST). Here is a link to the qualifying and main draws.. https://psaworldtour.com/tournaments/view/6141

Fingers are crossed for a good match!

Days 5-6

Preparing for my match on Thursday felt different from any other match I’ve played. Stephanie and I were coincidentally billeting at the same house, so after eating breakfast, hitting, grabbing lunch, and hanging out all day, we played our match. To my delight, I advanced to the main draw with a 3-0 win. Similar to my match the previous week, I was unsettled throughout the match; however, I buckled down, focused on my length, and stayed composed during critical points. After our match, the drew names to see who I would play next. To my luck, I drew Milou again. For the third tournament in a row I was playing the first seed in the first round. While my draw placement could have been disheartening, I saw the matchup as an opportunity to get revenge.

I felt better prepared for my match today then I did last week. Due to a long five-game match before mine, I had an hour long warm up. Before stepping on court I felt focused and relaxed. Unfortunately, once I stepped onto court I tightened up. First game was very rough. In the second I attacked and moved the ball around the court more. Even though I had a 9-5 lead, and a game ball at 12-11, I lost the game. Right now I’m kicking myself for making errors at critical points because the game could have gone either way. The third game was similar. Hopefully I can reduce these errors and play more confidently and consistently as I gain experience. Learned a lot from this match and tournament. On to the next one.

Huge thank you to the Black family for letting me stay with you this week! Your company and support made me feel more relaxed and comfortable both on and off court. Also thank you Rex, Dawn, and Ryan for the tournament!

Days 7-8

In my last two days in Sydney, I played practice matches, went sight seeing downtown, hung out with the friends I made during these two weeks, and watched Sophie’s field hockey match. It was a great way to end my trip. Looking forward to seeing everyone back home and to play on the new doubles court at the Glencoe!

Canadian Professional Squash Player, Cornell '15

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