San Francisco–>US Open

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.

Netsuite Latasha

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.

SF Golden Gate Bridge

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.

 

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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.

 

 

Canadian Professional Squash Player, Cornell '15

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