Nationals is the most important tournament of the year for me and each year I try to peak for it. This year nationals were held at the Mayfair Lakeshore Club in Toronto, ON from May 4-8. Leading up to this event I spent a solid six weeks in the gym improving my fitness with my trainer Richard Gibney and on court with my new coach Jonathan Hill. It was great to spend some time training, away from competition, to clear my mind and prepare properly for this event.
By the time May 3rd flew around and I was on the plane heading to Toronto, I felt very excited and confident and also lucky. It was my birthday and to my surprise my boyfriend was coming to watch my play at Nationals. Since there weren’t many people from Alberta competing at Nationals, it was especially nice to have someone in my corner during such an important event.
In my first round match, I played Margo Dewsnap and won 3-0 (11-4, 11-4, 11-9). While I managed to win comfortably, I still felt extremely nervous during the match and was relieved when it was done. To celebrate, I went to a Jays game 🙂
After having a practice session in the morning and going to the Hockey Hall of Fame, I relaxed and visualized the match I was going to play later that evening against Giselle Delgado. I played her earlier in the year in Seattle and knew that she would be a tough opponent since she had good ball control and shots. Going onto the court, I felt very comfortable, focused and relaxed and played really well. I advanced to the semis after winning 3-0 (11-2, 11-6, 11-4).
Before coming to this event I had heard that Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) was competing since she had Canadian citizenship. At the time of the tournament, Nicolette was ranked #24 in the world and I was #67. Knowing that she is a great player, I knew that I would have to play the best squash of my life to have a chance at beating her. Fortunately, I did. I was focused, relaxed and moving great. It’s the best I have ever played in a tournament and I was extremely happy and surprised when I beat her 3-1 (11-6, 11-13, 11-4, 11-4).
After having the huge upset that I did, I had to calm down and refocus on my final against Hollie. However, it wasn’t that easy. I felt extremely nervous as I stepped on to the court for the first game. While I tried to relax I wasn’t able to do it in time and I lost the first game 11-7. However, I managed to regain control and win the next two games 12-10 and 13-11. I finally managed to relax once I took a 2-1 lead, but I relaxed too much. She crushed me in the fourth game 11-5. In the fifth game, I took a 6-3 lead and then let it slip. Hollie hit some amazing drops and took advantage of my length that had started to fall a bit short and won the match 11-8.
It was a close but frustrating match since I was playing well, but wasn’t quite as focused as I was the day before. It was a disappointing way to end the season since I was just short of my goal, but there are many positives to take away from my tournament overall.
Thank you to everyone who supported me during this event. It meant the world to me.