England’s leading lady Sarah-Jane Perry has been a beacon of consistency over the course of the 2019/20 season, reaching at least the quarter-finals of every event she played in.
That run dates as far back as March 2019, and includes several major tournaments, including the Women’s World Championships, the British Open, Tournament of Champions and the Windy City Open.
Perry admitted that being consistent had been one of her major aims for the campaign, having gone back over what she had been doing and how she had been performing around 18 months ago.
“Consistency has been a big focus and after a couple of disappointing tournaments last season, I re-evaluated everything I was doing and became hyper focussed on controlling the elements I could, particularly the mental side with my sports psychologist (former pro Jenny Tranfield) which has been extremely beneficial,” Perry explained.
“This has really helped me maximise my performance on any given day and accepting that a win when you weren’t playing well is actually more confidence boosting than an immaculate performance.
Perry (fore) in action against Rowan Elaraby (right) at the Windy City Open in Chicago
“It’s no secret that I was struggling to find my game and the required fitness last year but I finished the season well and built on that for this season. My goal this season was to try and get some consistency and get into the top 5.
“I think I’ve definitely closed the gap and a couple of Platinum semi-finals recently has helped that too. There’s still lots for me to improve but that excites me as there’s definitely more to come from me!”
Perry reached the finals of two PSA Bronze events in February, doing so at both the Cleveland Classic and the Bahl and Gaynor Cincinnati Cup.
That consistency continued with appearances in the last four of the final two Platinum events prior to the COVID-19 enforced suspension of the Tour.
She made it into the semi-finals of both the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family and the CIB Black Ball Women’s Squash Open in Cairo, but it wasn’t exactly perfect for the Englishwoman.
“I wasn’t happy with my performances in Chicago but was happy with my grit and how I found ways to win,” she admitted.
Perry (left) in action against Nele Gilis (right) at the Black Ball Sporting Club
“After that, the focus for Cairo was to try and perform better in my earlier matches to leave myself fresher, both mentally and physically, for later rounds. I achieved that and wasn’t far away from making the final.”
With the retirement of Raneem El Welily, the English No.1 has moved up the World Rankings, and now sits at World No.5, her highest ever positioning.
The Englishwoman, who took over as her country’s No.1 from former World Champion Laura Massaro, admitted that just staying where she is in the rankings is hard work.
“Reaching the top ten was a goal for me for a long time before it happened and took a lot of hard work,” the World No.5 explained.
“However, staying there has taken even more hard work and the standard in the women’s game has continued to be pushed up and up. There is plenty of young talent trying to break into the top ten as well so holding them off whilst challenging the top five is a tough task!”