Middlesex’s Alison Waters insists she has put her Chicago setback behind her and is now ready to celebrate her 30th birthday in style at the World Championship in Malaysia next week.
The world no.4 hits the big ‘three-oh’ on March 19, the day after she opens her Worlds campaign in Penang against Indian Joshana Chinappa, and is relishing a return to the city where she helped England to the World Junior Women’s Team Championship in 2001.
“I have some great memories of Penang,” she recalled. “We played our World Junior Teams there when we were 17 and the team was myself, Jenny [Duncalf], Laura [Massaro], Sarah [Kippax] and Tina Rix. We won the event and it was an amazing three weeks out there.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how it’s changed from 13 years ago. My Mum is coming as well (she came for the World Juniors) and it’s my 30th birthday when I’m out there as well, so I’m really excited about the trip.
“Mum and I fly out on Thursday and we are being kindly hosted by the Park Royal Hotel in Penang, who have given us accommodation for the 10 days. Very exciting!”
Waters has a consistent record in the women’s global showpiece, having reached the quarter-finals or better in every World Open since 2008.
“Yes, I love the Worlds,” she said. “It’s the biggest tournament of the year and one I really want to do well in. I would love to get my name on the trophy and to be able to say I’m world champion would be pretty amazing!”
As regards her draw, she is in the same half as home favourite and seven-time champion Nicol David, but she is looking no further than her match against world no.19 Chinappa, whom she has beaten three times in three meetings.
“I just take one match at a time at tournaments, as you can’t really plan who you might play,” Waters said. “I do know that I play Joshana in the first round and she is a good, skilful player. We played in Hong Kong in December and I won 3/1, so I’m really looking forward to it.
“The depth in the draw is really strong, so there are no easy matches. I know that if I play my game and play well, then there is no reason why I can’t do well.”
Waters found that out the hard way at the Windy City Open in Chicago, where she suffered a surprise 3/0 loss to world no.6 Camille Serme in the quarter-finals, two weeks after winning her fourth British title
“Yes, it was disappointing to lose in the quarters,” she commented. “Camille played very well and never really allowed me into the match. I have played better, though, so I know there is more to come.
“It was definitely a few weeks of highs and lows, but that is sport and something you have to deal with. I’m now really looking forward to the Worlds.”