Having restrained my urge to pen a review of the IOC's decision to exclude squash from the Olympics (for the third consecutive time), I thought now would be an appropriate time for a preview of the new season. My 2013/14 campaign begins in just a few days with the $15k Nash Cup in London, ON. This tournament is held in high regard by PSA players for its great enthusiasm and hospitality. Big crowds populate the seats from day 1, players are given free meals at the club, and the members seem genuinely excited to have a Tour event in their own backyard. I am ranked as #5 qualifier, so progressing to the main draw would classify as a success.
In October I'll be playing in two $35k events, first in Montreal and then Halifax. These will be the largest tournaments I have played in and will serve as a great opportunity to test myself against top-5o level opposition. I will be the underdog regardless of who I draw, but this will certainly force me to raise my game to the occasion. I am also playing a $10k in Chicago where I am directly into the main draw, and will play a to-be-determined qualifier.
My world ranking is now up to #116, which brings an important stage of development. A great many players get caught in a trap between 110 and 130 in the rankings, never quite able to break through to the top-100. Getting into the double digits requires winning 1-2 matches per event consistently, and improving on your results from 12 months ago. The PSA rankings are calculated on a rolling year calendar, so if you earn 50 points in September 2013, you need to match or better that total in September 2014 to avoid having your points average drop. This creates the aforementioned trap, where players maintain roughly the same results for years without having any breakthroughs. I am obviously keen to avoid this! Having said that, the quality and consistency of the players in the top-100 is far higher, and they are just as desperate to climb the rankings as I am.
The fall marks the start of the season for pros and amateurs alike, so I'd encourage everyone reading this to get involved in their local league and play some weekend tournaments. I guarantee you won't regret it, and it is one of the best ways to grow the game in my opinion!