At 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 France’s Melissa Alves.
After starting the 2018-2019 campaign just outside the top 200 in the world, Frenchwoman Melissa Alves ended the year at World No.45, after a breakthrough season.
Alves won three tournaments throughout the campaign, including the Val de Marne on home soil, with the title win qualifying her for a place at the 2018-2019 World Championships in Chicago.
“It was very exciting for me playing my first full season as a professional squash player after college,” Alves said.
“I think overall I played very well, I didn’t know what to expect jumping into the professional tour. I just knew I wanted to have fun, play good squash and see how far I could go.
“Breaking into the top 50 after my first season is very encouraging and motivating. Overall it was a very good season for me.”
Alves in action in Chicago
Alves reached a career high of World No.44 in July, but at the start of the season, the Frenchwoman admitted that the travel was tough.
“I had to play quite a few tournaments alone on the other side of the world which was not always easy but it was the first needed step to move up and that started to give me confidence,” she added.
“Breaking the top 50 means you can play all the big tournaments and that is very satisfying. It’s going to help keeping up with ranking and playing more matches against better players.
“This is why I train everyday, so that I can compete on the bigger stages and see where I stand.”
Along with a good start to her PSA World Tour career, Alves was part of the France team that took victory at the European Teams Championships in Birmingham.
It was the first time in their history that France took the title, and after they defeated England in the final, with Alves saying she played her best squash in that tournament.
Alves celebrating after her victory at the European Team Championships over Victoria Lust
“No doubt my match against Victoria Lust at the Europeans [was my best]. I felt like I played my best squash of the season, not too many unforced errors and lots of winners,” Alves admitted.
“I need to be able to reproduce this type of performances more often to continue moving up in the ranking. It was very emotional winning the title with the French girls, definitely my favourite memory so far. We lost so many times to England, we waited very long for this, and we all worked very hard.”
After her breakthrough season on the tour, Alves knows that she needs to up her expectations. She has even thought about knocking her countrywoman off the top of the tree when it comes to Nationals.
“After the season I just had and now that I am a bit more aware of what I can achieve, my expectations are going to be higher I guess,” the Frenchwoman added.
“In terms of ranking I would like to get close to the top 25 which means becoming more consistent with my game and try to win a 10k or even a bigger event.
“Of course we will do our best to keep our European title with the French team and in France since I made the final this year the next step is to win it, even if it means beating Camille [Serme]! You always gotta aim higher right?!”
Keep a look out for the next player’s review of the 2018-19 season in the coming days, as the ‘German Tree Chopper’, Simon Rösner reviews his campaign.