After breaking into the top 20 in the World Rankings following a wonderful performance at the 2019 Allam British Open, Nele Gilis has maintained her position among the sport’s best, and has now broken into the top 16 for the first time.
The Belgian No.1 has now been inside the top 20 in the World Rankings for more than a year after a consistent 2019-2020 campaign, but the 24-year-old is hoping that there is plenty more to come.
“I had been targeting the top 20 for a couple of years now so when I finally reached it, I was so happy and motivated for my next goal,” Gilis admitted.
“I’m very happy with my performances at the big events so far. It took many years of qualifying losses or first round losses but I kept telling myself that if I keep working hard I will move in the right direction slowly but surely. Hopefully this is just the beginning!
“I feel like I can push the top girls if I play well, so I will keep working hard every day and hopefully push as far as I can!”
She is not the only Belgian inside the top 20, and she is not the only Gilis inside the top 20 either. Younger sister Tinne sits just two places behind Nele at World No.18 and the 24-year-old is proud to have her sister right up there with her.
Tinne (left) and Nele (right) on court at the British Open in 2019
“I’m really proud to be national champion and to be able to represent my country,” she explained.
“We come from a small city in Belgium, with squash not being the most popular sport and also not having a lot of competition like the Egyptians girls do growing up.
“It makes me very very proud of both of us! One of my dreams is to have 2 Gilis’s inside the top ten!”
The World No.16’s best result in the 2019-2020 campaign came at the Detroit Pro Classic, where she reached the final as the No.2 seed.
Having shared a room with Olivia Clyne throughout the week, the pair faced off in the final, with the American taking the spoils. Gilis was graceful in her defeat to the now-World No.12.
“I had a really great week in Detroit. I had some really good wins all the way to the final and to then play against my roommate for the week.
“Olivia has been playing top ten squash this season and fully deserved that win!”