As we reach the end of another season, the PSA's Matt Coles has been talking to the stars of the PSA World Tour about their 2018/19 campaigns. Here he catches up with Canada’s No.1, Hollie Naughton.
Canada’s Hollie Naughton has had another successful season, one where she finishes as her nation’s highest-ranked player, sitting at World No.31.
After suffering a slight injury during her pre-season training, Naughton bounced back to record some good wins throughout the year. She also faced some of the biggest names in the game, and she hopes to take that experience moving ahead.
“It has been quite the season and I have to say overall I'm quite happy with it,” Naughton explained.
“I didn't feel confident going into the season due to an injury mid way through summer training but over the Christmas break I put in some good work and felt raring to go come January.
“[In the] second half of the season, I felt like I had a lot of great matches with the top girls and happy to gain that experience to take into next season.”
Naughton faced Raneem El Welily in her second tournament of the season, before then having close battles with Alison Waters, Laura Massaro and Tesni Evans in the latter part of the campaign.
Despite that experience against the big name players, Naughton believes her best performance of the season came against one of the other women on tour.
“That's a tough question, I feel like I had a season of 'you almost had that’,” the Canadian admitted.
“I had patches in a lot of matches where I felt things had clicked and come together but just didn’t quite get the consistency right.
“I would have to say for consistency my match at the Cincinnati Open against Olivia Blatchford-Clyne or DPD Open against Emily Whitlock.
“I felt like I managed to push through mentally and stick to the game plan better in the fifth. Something I had been struggling to do in a lot of matches against high ranked opponents this season.”
In March, Naughton achieved her highest ever ranking. She reached World No.29, the first time she had ever broken into the top 30, and it gave her great pleasure.
“It felt great to reach the top 30 for the first time. I feel like I keep coming close and just couldn’t get over the hump,” she said.
“Everyone is so close and everyone is having good wins just making it even harder to get that break. I felt like finally the hard work is paying off.”
The Canadian will not have as long an off-season as some this summer, as she will be taking part in the Pan-American Games in July.
However, she is looking forward to the event, having gone away with some of the other members of the PSA World Tour on a ‘relaxing’ holiday.
“I don’t have too long of a break this off-season as I have the Pan American Games end of July,” she added.
“As I’m sure a lot of people saw a few of the PSA girls went on a week holiday to Ibiza to ‘relax’ last week, but now it’s back to some hard work to prepare for the upcoming season.
“I’ll be bouncing from Cornell with David Palmer to Canada and then back to the UK for the end of the summer training block.”
Naughton has two simple goals to aim towards for the 2019-2020, based on rankings, and the length of time she spends on court.
“My main goal for next season is to break into the top 20 and to try not to have so many 5 setters…”
Keep an eye out for the next player’s review of the 2018-19 season in the coming days, as Gregoire Marche reviews his campaign.