Latest from Alison

On Holiday in Bermuda! Anyone for Golf???

Women’s World Squash Championship

Just back from the world open in Cairo. Great tournament for me getting to the semi finals.

Big win over Laura Massaro in the quarters and then a tough match with Raneem losing 3-1.

The final was amazing and summed up everything about the brutal highs and lows of sport. I still get goosebumps now thinking about it.

It was an incredible atmosphere and if anyone at the IOC were watching they should see what an incredible sport squash is and how much it deserves Olympic recognition!

For me it has been an amazing three weeks, to win the world teams in Canada two weeks ago and to be semi finalist this week has given me good confidence and am looking forward to taking that into 2015 with me.

A little break now over Christmas and then back into training ready for the TOC event in New York where in another major step forward we have equal prize money.

Fantastic for the game and hopefully most major events will be that in time.

Happy Christmas and happy new year.

Thanks for all the support

Ali xx

 

 

Alison’s Results

Round 1
Alison beat Heba El Torky (Egy)   
11/8, 11/6, 11/6 (34m)

Round 2
Alison beat Sarah-Jane Perry
11/7, 11/6, 11/3 (31m)

Quarter Finals
Alison beat Laura Massaro
12/14, 11/2, 11/7, 11/9 (52m)

Semi-Finals
Alison lost to Raneem El Welily
6/11, 9/11. 11/9, 5/11 (48m)

 

Update 25th November 2014

There has been a bit of a break since the last tournament (US open) so it has been a good chance to get some good training in.

Up next is the Women’s World team event in Canada. We leave on Friday 28th November. Really looking forward to going and it’s always a huge honour playing for England and something that is very important to me. It’s only held every two years and we are seeded two behind Egypt.

Check out http://www.wsfwomensteams.com for team details and the schedule for the week. Quarter finals onwards are being streamed on PSA squash tv so keep tuned in.

Come on England!!

Ali xx 

‘Off to the World Open’

Leaving for the World Open on Thursday 13th match and this year it’s held in Penang, Malaysia. Very excited to be going back there after being there 13 years ago when I was 17 for the world juniors. I have some great memories there. Mum is coming with me and we are being kindly hosted by the Park Royal Hotel for the ten day stay.

http://www.parkroyalhotels.com/en/hotels/malaysia/penang/parkroyal/

Many thanks to them for this and I’m really looking forward to the trip. First round starts on the 18th march and I’m playing Joshna Chinnapa first up.

Ali xx

‘After My Two American Tournaments’

Waiting for my flight home now from JFK. Cleveland had
snow storms last night so was lucky to get my flight as many were cancelled.
Smallest plane ever with a one and a two seat making a row up. In snowy
conditions as well, my favourite thing….!!

So had a great week in Cleveland and I love playing this tournament. Mainly
down to the fact that the family we stay with are amazing and it’s like home
away from home, never like leaving but my skin has finally had enough of the
freezing weather so it’s home bound for me!!

First round I played Dipika Palikal and won a tight 3-0. Dipika is a talented
player and has just gone to 10 in the world. Luckily for me she hit quite a few
errors and that was costly for her. Was pleased to get off in three and ready
for my match with Omneya abdel Kawy in the quarters. I have played Omneya so
many times as we came through juniors together. She would always beat me in
juniors and whenever we have played in WSA tournaments more or less it goes to
five games. This match was no different and I found myself 2-0 down. Managed to
win a tight 3rd game where Omneya had 3 match balls and after winning the 3rd
and a close 4th I pushed through and won the 5th quite comfortably. Think I
dodged a bullet but nether-less pleased to be in the semis. Up next was Annie
Au who was the giant killer of the tournament taking out all the seeds. Strange
match as I felt on top a lot of the match but still found myself in a 5th game
with her and it was neck and neck before I eventually lost 13-11 in the 5th!!!
Maybe having dodged a bullet the previous match I had run out of luck. Annie
played well and was very precise in her length and short game. Tough one to
lose especially with a chance to get into the final as well.

Onwards as they say and all in all a good trip with two semi finals. Three
weeks seems to have flown by and now I’m really looking forward to getting home
and seeing my newly decorated house that I have just moved into!! Not much time
off as I will be preparing for the national championships which start on the
13th Feb. There is nothing better than competing as this is what we do so
already I’m really excited about the nationals… Oh and getting back to some
warmer weather, no more minus 10 for me please!!!!

Ali xx

‘A Day in the Life of a Professional Squash Player’ (Part 4)

Part 4. China

I’m writing this on the plane home from Shanghai. It’s a 12 hour day flight which is probably the hardest flight. Day flights are no fun, it’s so hard to sleep. I have watched 3 episodes of ‘The Killing’ so far and the flight time remaining is telling me 6 hours 12 mins to go!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhh. I’m only halfway and I’m as bored as hell.

So Shanghai was the final stop in this miniseries of tournaments. This was always going to be tough as from Philadelphia the time difference is 12 hours ahead so sleeping could prove difficult. I had got my head round this trip and was looking forward to playing especially as the American tournaments hadn’t gone as well as I would have liked. It’s sometimes quite nice to get straight back out there and get on with it and I had got my head more or less in shape and wanted to show myself I could bounce back.

Shanghai is an interesting place, it’s strange as it’s an 12 hour flight which is a long way but you really do feel like you are literally miles away from home. It’s tough with the language barrier at times and makes for some funny conversations. I rang up the hotel reception once asking for the maintenance man to come and fix a light and me asking for the maintenance man was reception thinking I was asking for the internet and then checking out. So Its hard as you end up laughing really hard whilst trying to get something done. You kind of just have to go with the flow in China and this was the theme for the week.

The first few days were pretty brutal for jetlag. It was the hardest I have ever experienced. It was a zombie like feel for the first few days with trying to practice and getting used to the courts at the same time.

It was almost better when the first round started as when you have a match your body  has to get ready for it so even if you are feeling jetlagged you literally have to switch into gear otherwise you are going home. First round for me was vs Nouran Gohar. An up and coming Egyptian player and one to definitely keep an eye on in the future. I wasn’t taking her lightly going into the match as she had beaten two seeds in qualifying so I knew she was playing well. I won 3-0 but it wasn’t easy and I was really impressed with Nouran. I really enjoyed the match and felt like I played well especially after two disappointing tournaments my goal this tournament was to go and enjoy playing and just play my game. I did this and it was a good start.

Quarter finals moved onto the glass court which was outside on the harbour front. It was a good location but it was a cold night and proved some tricky conditions for everyone. I was up against Nat Grinham who has been up to number two in the world so I knew that it would be a tough match. I started well and Nat seemed to take a bit longer to get used to the conditions. So I found myself 2-0 and 5-1 up and signs were looking good and I was feeling good. Nat to her credit dug in well and changed her game and tactics around. I think I had 3 match balls in the 3rd but couldn’t convert any of them. It was tough as Nat had the momentum going into the 4th game and on a court where it’s dead the momentum can change so quickly and once it’s switched its a real fight to get it back. I didn’t get it back and ended up losing 3-2.

Tough to take especially having match balls in the third and matches like that you end up playing over in your head thinking all I needed was one point to win 3-0 and I end up losing 3-2. That one final point can be the hardest point which is crazy as it should just be thought about as any other point. It being match ball should be irrelevant.

I felt much better and played much better than I did in Philadelphia so that is a positive to take home with me and something I can use to move on from these tournaments and focus on what’s coming up ahead. So after a month of travelling I’m looking forward to getting back home for a bit of normality. I have a month before the next tournament in Hong Kong so this gives me time to freshen myself up and change things around a bit. I’m always learning and hopefully I will look back at this time and think yes I needed to go through this rough patch to work out what I actually really want in squash. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.

This is the last part of ‘Life as a touring pro’ and I have enjoyed writing down and sharing my thoughts and feelings during and after tournaments and my life away from home. It’s actually been quite hard writing this as squash wise it hasn’t been the best month and when you lose it is defiantly harder to write down how you’re feeling as you just want to forget about it. It’s easy to write a blog when you are winning and playing well so this has been a challenge in itself for me and actually I think it has helped me by writing this. Hope you have enjoyed it as well.

Ali

email: alisquash@outlook.com

 

 

‘A Day in the Life of a Professional Squash Player’ (Part 3)

Part three…. US Open.

First round I played Aisling Blake, I had a good match and won 3-0. Felt like I was hitting my targets well and settled into the glass court nicely. Was happy  to get off in three games as Aisling can be tricky to play. The US open with having equal prize money for the first time ever is a long event. An 8 day event with three rest days. From the last 16 all matches are on the glass court so scheduling means there has to be rest days. So after my first round match I had my first rest day. Rest days are interesting as they feel really strange. If you have had a hard match the day before you are grateful for the rest, but sometimes you almost want to keep the momentum going.

My rest day involved, a bit of shopping, practice and then some relaxation. But the end of the day I was looking forward to playing the next round. I was up against Donna Urquhart of Australia. I played well in patches and in other parts I totally switched off. Not a good idea as Donna was playing well and was fired up for the match as you would expect. I ended up scrapping a win 12-10 in the 5th and actually I was pretty lucky to win in the end.

So this is followed by another rest day and after a five setter I was grateful for the break. The morning was spent relaxing then I had a practice and watched some of the matches.

Quarter finals day and I was up against Joelle king of New Zealand the number 5 in the world. On paper this should have been a close match as I’m currently 4 in the world. It wasn’t really and having lost a tight first game 12-10 I went onto loose the match 3-0. I don’t like losing at the best of time but it was the way that I lost which was the most disappointing.

On a positive note I have to think I got to the quarter finals when deep down I know I wasn’t playing as well as I can play so as long as I can improve for the next tournament then that is what is most important. Shanghai is next and first round starts on Thursday 24th October.

This is the last tournament of this mini series so hopefully I can finish on a real positive note…..

Keep posted for part 4…..

Ali xx

‘A Day in the Life of a Professional Squash Player (Part 2)

Part Two… Time to move on!

I’m now in Philadelphia for the US open starting tomorrow. US squash have done an amazing job and the men and women have equal prize money for the first time. Great news and hopefully this can be the start of many. We are staying with a really nice family in the suburbs about 20mins from the club and it’s a lovely lovely area. Again a nice change from staying in a hotel and more of a homely feel.

So since losing last week at Carol Weymuller I sulked for a day or so and then realised that it was time to move on. You can’t dwell too much really especially with big tournaments coming up. You have to take some positives from losing as hard as that maybe to find them sometimes. Camille was playing really well and she got to the final so yes I could have played better but sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say your opponent played better on the day.

Move on!!

So we stayed in Brooklyn Heights for another 5 days and we went into Manhattan and went to see Romeo and Juliet on Broadway. I love going to shows and especially when Romeo was played by Orlando Bloom!!! New York is such a great city with so much to do that it’s a great place to hang out in. I think it’s important after a match to get some time away and clear your mind. It’s tough after losing and the last thing you want to do is stay around the club all day as that’s mentally tough. However I did make myself watch the matches the following day which was hard to do as I was desperate to be there playing!

So now I’m in a Philadelphia and it’s raining and cold and feels like home!!

First round I’m playing Aisling Blake from Ireland and we are playing on the glass court! I like playing on the glass courts as they are more rewarding! They take a good shot but at the same time they are punishing if you play a weak shot so you have to really make sure you are finding your length on their otherwise it can be a question of being made to do courts prints on there!!

Can’t wait to get playing now…

Keep posted for part three! 

Ali xx

‘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!!)

(to comment on this post….which I may publish….you can email alisquash@outlook.com)

The Olympic Decision

Was it a surprise that squash didn’t get into the 2020 Olympics ? Deep down I wasn’t that surprised. Very disappointed but not surprised.

As soon as Wrestling was taken out it was immediately the favourite to go straight back in. This seems absolutely crazy to me. How can a sport taken out only six months ago because it lacked women’s categories and needed the rule format changed to make it more viewer friendly change in that short a time.

Squash has been campaigning for the last few years to get into the Olympics. We missed out last time to golf and rugby seven and the time before we missed out on the majority vote rule which is no longer in place. What do we have to do to show the IOC we deserve to be there? We are a fast paced exciting sport played worldwide and it’s amazing to watch live and on television.

For any squash player to play in the Olympics would be the pinnacle of our careers. Surely this is what the whole ethics of the Olympics is. Would Tiger Woods rather win a gold medal at the Olympics or a golfing major? Would Andy Murray rather win a gold medal at the Olympics or win Wimbledon? For a squash player winning a gold medal would be the ultimate achievement.

Where does squash go from here? We all know that squash is an amazing sport, we have a healthy worldwide circuit and we will keep pushing forward and adapting and changing to the times. We deserve to be in the Olympics but it feels like we are not just competing against other sports to get in but we are competing against the IOC. I think they need to take a good look at the system and take a piece of their own advice and change with the times.

Too much goes on ‘behind the scenes’ which is the only way we can understand how squash hasn’t got in again.

We feel cheated by the IOC and surely they should be accountable for the time/ effort/ money that squash has put in when deep down they knew that squash and the other sports had no chance of getting in. Wrestling was a dead cert from as soon as they were taken out.

Is this the world that we live in now? A corrupt, unfair and unjust system?

If so then shame on you the IOC, shame on you …

Alison xx

 

If you would like to comment on this article, it’s been published at http://getsquashintheolympics.com/?p=1533