I think this season has been a bit of a mixture. I feel like it’s got better towards the end of the season. We’ve just been so busy and so full on, there was a little gap where I actually got a COVID, and that seems to change a little bit of something, I can’t kind of pinpoint exactly what, possibly spending 10 days in bed being sick. But since then I sort of almost relaxed a bit. I’ve talked about before, you know, just trying to really zone in on what do I want any the end of my career. I’m not getting any younger, you just never know what’s going to happen.
So I think that the little bit of change in mentality probably possibly relaxed me in some ways, but also motivated me in ways to just think, how many more times will I play, say the Black Ball Open, or the US Open, all these tournaments? And it changed the perspective a little bit to enjoy going to these events. I think, through COVID, it was quite tough being in bubbles and things like that, and there was definitely periods being sat in a room, at 32 years old, you’re thinking: is this really what I want to be doing spending 23 hours of the day, in a room by myself? And then coming out of that, I think it’s just been really about enjoying going to tournaments, and joining seen, you know, making the most of seeing different cultures, different hearing different languages, all these things that I actually enjoy about the sport, and trying to make the most of it.
It seems to be coming into my squash now. I think, closely looking at what motivates me now, compared to when I was 21 and just that desire to do the best that I can to make Joelle proud, as opposed to worrying about what other people think or who cares about my results or whatever. It’s just at the end of each match, can I go back to the room and be happy with myself that I gave it everything win or lose and just leave it all out there.
So I think that’s probably been quite a nice transition through this year, you know, when you’ve been doing it since you were 18 years old, as a pro, the travel, things like that, it can become a bit tough. So I’d say falling back in love, not necessarily with squash, but just the whole thing. Enjoying the tournaments, enjoying being away, because at some stage, I’m not going to do that anymore. And, as I say, just being proud of me, knowing that I’ve done everything leading up to the tournament, to put my best self out there and win or lose, you just have no regrets.
I think I look at it a different way now. I want to win as many titles as I can before I finish playing. Not necessarily looking at rankings to see if I need to do this tournament, I’m going to turn up to every tournament and be in the mix to win it and see how many events I can win before I finish playing. And like I say, like any goal you got to have a bit of a dream as well. The current stock of players is so impressive, you know, El Sherbini, Gohar, Hania as well, the ones ranked after me as well this is just the standard now. So, even coming close to winning these events, you’re winning because of the current form of players that you’re competing with. So I actually just love being out on court now, In these different places, playing in front of crowds, even if they’re not cheering for me, just enjoying that whole experience as well. So, I would say before I was much more rankings-focused. Now I’m just trying to do my best to win as many titles as I can before it all comes to an end.
The Commonwealth Games is obviously a huge focus for us as well. So that’s a big goal. For any of us playing the Commonwealth Games, it’s a huge goal. Then after that, have a bit of a rest and go on holiday and then see what’s in store for the next year, but I don’t really want anything to change from how I’ve been approaching the second half of last season. It’s worked pretty well for me so far, even having some of these huge battles like at the British Open with Hania, we had a big five-setter and I lost but I was just in the moment and the heat of the battle and with me getting on top and her coming back, that’s what any athlete wants to to be doing, you know, so, I think it’s going to stay the same.