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‘A Day in the Life of a Professional Squash Player’ (Part 1)

I’m currently writing this at 6am the day after I have just lost in the first round in New York to French player Camille Serme. I will come back to this later.

I’m currently on a month’s trip away to three tournaments. New York, Philadelphia and then Shanghai. They are all big events with all the top players in them so there are some good ranking points up for grabs here.

First stop is Brooklyn Heights for the Carol Weymuller tournament which is a Gold event. I’m seeded four in the event with my first round vs Camille Serme. I played her in Malaysia two weeks ago and lost 3-0 so I’m determined to get my revenge.

I love Brooklyn and it’s one of my favourite tournaments. We stay with families from the club and I’m staying with the same family as i did last year so it’s been great to see them. It’s a nice change from staying in hotels all the time and it feels like being at home here. I arrived on Monday 30th September and that then gave me two full days to acclimatise before first round started on the 3rd October.

New York is 5 hours behind the UK so it means waking up early and feeling tired at night. Not great when the matches are in the evening. I make sure that I stay awake till at least 10pm as with my first round match being at 7pm if I’m going to bed any earlier then by the time my match comes along I might not have acclimatised properly. You have to fight the sleep in the end to stay awake.
So the two days before first round I basically practice each day and then rest and prepare for my match. It would be easy here to just go into Manhattan for shopping or sightseeing but it’s so tiring and I don’t really want to be walking around for long periods of time the day before a match. So this waits until after the tournament.

Game day arrives and I’m feeling good. Really looking forward to getting started now and having watched some great qualifying matches the night before I’m definitely raring to go. Game day is the same as normal and with an evening match I practice in the morning, have lunch then relax in the afternoon watching television or anything I have downloaded onto my ipad. There is quite a lot of time to kill and by the time 7pm arrives I’m defiantly ready to start.

It’s hot and bouncy conditions here in Brooklyn so I warm up for 15 mins and I’m ready to go. Having lost to Camille two weeks ago I have had time to really think how I’m going to play differently this time. I lost the first game 11-7. Not playing to badly I wasn’t that disheartened with this. A few careless shots at the end of the game cost me but I had to move on quickly if I was going to get back into it.

A better second game winning it 13-11. I seemed to find a better length and managed to get in front of Camille which I hadn’t really done much in the first. So tied at 1-1 now and back in it. Camille to be fair played really well In the next two games. Took my strengths away from me and didn’t allow me to play. I made some errors in each game and I got pretty frustrated in myself which didn’t help matters.

Lost a poor third game 11-5 and then the forth 11-8. Camille had a big lead in the forth and I got back into it but it was to late. All credit to her for another good performance but for me pretty gutted with this.

What can I take away from it? Well I played a bit better than I did in Malaysia so that’s a start. At the moment I can’t see any other positives but maybe in a few days I will. So hence why I’m awake at 6am. ( but doing something productive I might add!!) After losing a match sleeping is one of the hardest things.  You keep going over points in the match and basically lying in bed kicking yourself.  This is the thing that people don’t understand, yes it sounds like a really amazing lifestyle and don’t get me wrong it is, but when you lose it’s one of the worst feelings. This is our careers at the end of the day and for me personally I want to achieve things and losing first round isn’t what I want to be doing.

Not actually feeling that great this morning mentally and feel like this could be a day of sulking for me!! Which I know doesn’t help things but it’s hard to shake out of it. I am going to get back on court though today as hopefully this will shake me out of it and with the US open in Philadelphia starting in a week’s time I have to move on….

Ali  xx

Keep posted for part two… (If I stop sulking!!)

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