In the next part of a series taking a look back at the 2019-20 season to date, we spoke to Low Wee Wern about her form over the last 12 months.
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It wasn’t that long ago that Low Wee Wern was sitting outside the top 250 in the World Rankings, as she fought her way back from injury after having three surgeries to correct a knee problem.
After spending more than a year and a half out through that serious injury, the Malaysian now sits at No.24 in the world and has produced some good performances during the 2019-20 season, including a win over World No.8 Amanda Sobhy, before the COVID-19 pandemic cut short the PSA World Tour.
“There have been some good performances and some below par,” said Low when asked about her season.
“I am still struggling to find my game and my confidence at times. It’s not easy being out of the tour or any tournaments at all for such long time and there at times where I know what I need to do but it just doesn’t happen the way I want it to. The consistency and decision making is not there yet, although I did get slightly better in 2020.”
Prior to her injury, the Malaysian was ranked as high as No.5 in the world and after dropping as low as No.260, she has now fought her way back into the top 25 in the world and Low admits she is pleased but is constantly striving for more improvement.
“I’s a tough one to be honest. On one hand I am happy to be able to be back despite being out for such a long time and having done three surgeries, making into the top 25 and being number one in Malaysia after Nicol’s [David] retirement, and regaining the National Champion title. But on the other hand, I’ve been up there at five before so being at 24 now can sometimes feel a bit disappointing and not being able to perform on court to a level I could have in the past can be frustrating to say the least.
Low Wee Wern (right) pictured with Amanda Sobhy (left) before their 2020 Carol Weymuller match
“My goal is to at least break the top 10 again. I had three goals at the start of this season and I managed to achieve number two, Number one is kind of void now and I did not achieve number three. They were:
1. Get back to the top 20 by the first half of 2020 and unfortunately that can’t happen now with the Covid19 situation.
2. Challenge and beat at least one top 10 player. I did beat Amanda Sobhy in Carol Weymuller and got close to SJ [Sarah-Jane Perry] losing 3-2. Against the top girls, they won’t give you anything and I need to make sure I do the right things at the right time to have a chance against them. I manage to do that in patches here and there but I have yet to be able to string them all together and in a match from the start consistently and that is what I am working on.
3. Make last 16 of a Platinum Event
The 29-year-old also produced strong showings on the PSA Challenger Tour with a runner-up finish at home tournament the Malaysian Open, losing out narrowly in a five-game battle with compatriot Rachel Arnold and reaching the semi-finals of the HKFC Open and Low insisted she was pleased with her form in those two events.
“My squash hasn’t been very consistent ever since my comeback I must admit. I am unable to find my game at times and I ended up scrapping through matches which is not something I want to have to do.
“In those two tournaments, I had to play matches day in and day out but it was good for me to test my body and see if I can play back to back matches. I did decent and that is positive. In my situation, I am happy to take any positives I can get.”
With the tour now postponed and events unable to take place, the Malaysian is hoping to use the time to work on her game, practise her painting and guitar skills and be ready for when the tour comes back.
“I’m trying to enjoy my time training and my time on court again. I took it for granted when I was actively playing but after being forced out for so long, I am trying to enjoy the things I used to do a bit more. There was a point where I wasn’t allowed to run or even do a light solo for nine months. But that aside and not being to train much now due to COVID-19, I started painting and playing the guitar again. I picked these two hobbies up when I was out injured because I was on crutches and wasn’t allowed to do much at all.
“I am unsure how this extended break will pen out to be honest. It took me a while to find some consistency in my game and I finally did in 2020 and now we are back to not having any tournaments. But the bright side of this is that I have a bit of time now to sort out minor issues in my body so hopefully I will be raring to go when the tour resumes.”