Match #1 2009 Australian Masters Squash Championships

Game 1

I bolted out of the blocks to make sure I got my rhythm and confidence, not used to playing to 9 hand-out, it’s important I get a good start to each game. It started well, I won the ‘spin of the racquet’ to start serve and got the first point. I dominated and won easily 9-4.

Game 2

The start of the game was tight, close and well played. My opponent stepped up his game but I knew I had a lot more depth than he had. We got to 7-7 and then it happened – a bad call. It was my serve, I got a NO LET I asked for and lost my serve. Then he got a stroke and was up 8-7 and got another stroke and won 9-7. I just didn’t think this was going to happen AGAIN.

I decided NOT to dwell on it and moved on.

Game 3

The game was close – a LOT of bad calls – my opponent was always in a negative position (behind me) and I forced him to go around me. The ref was terrible and kept giving him lets and in some cases strokes even though the shot was a nick or tight along the wall that he never would have reached. At this stage my frustration was increasing, but we were once again at 7-7 and a few more bad calls AGAIN meant I lost 9-7. At this stage my opponent knows to ask for a let anytime he can’t physically get to the ball in the hope of getting a let.

Game 4

By now, my opponent is knackered – trying to run everything down as I am trying as much  as possible to keep the ball away from where I am to avoid ANY risk of ANY bad calls. I dominate this game with total control and DISCIPLINED play – deep, tight and short kills that he can’t get to. I win decisively, 9-1. At this stage I am hoping that my superior skill will show the ref that (1) I can get to all the balls I am asking lets for and (2) when I am asking for a stroke, it’s because I am ready and can make the shot.

Game 5

Every once in a while in squash, it happens – a scrappy game – frames, misshits, lucky nicks in the back court… This is was happened. After a tough match, here I was going to lose because of scrappy shots. I was down 8-2. There weren’t any bad calls in this game, just a tired opponent struggling to keep up with the pace and momentum I was punishing him with = that’s why the scrappy shots came out.

That’s when I took control again – I started with 3 of my ‘trick’ shots to completely throw him off his game. He thought and reacted as though they were ‘lucky’ shots – my regular squash partners KNOW I practice them DAILY.

I came back and won 10-8 from an 8-2 deficit, fighting off 4 or 5 match points.

I felt vindicated for several reasons:

  1. The previous time this happened (a bad ref), I did not have a strategy to get myself out of it. I just wasn’t good enough to beat my opponent and a bad ref. This time was different. I trained SPECIFICALLY to make sure I had this strategy within my arsenal. Without doing the specific training, I would certainly have lost the match.
  2. I trained for the past 6 months NOT to make any unforced errors. I might have ‘tinned’ 4 or 5 shots in the entire match which is a HUGE improvement for me. I might have played a little ‘too safe’, but that was better than losing the point by tinning. It also meant the rallies went on longer and my opponent knew I was a better player by the sheer fact that I made so few unforced errors. My game never broke down – especially in the 4th and 5th games.
  3. I came back from leading 1-0 to being DOWN 2-1 and then coming back to win in the 5th game when I was down 8-2 with 4 or 5 match points. At no point did I accept losing to this opponent. I knew I was the better player AND the better player on the day. I had weapons in my arsenal that I pulled out when I needed and they delivered incredibly well. It was a sweet victory because THIS TIME I WAS READY.
  4. My mental game was the reason I won. My opponent had ups and downs and was quite vocal with his mood swings. I used that feedback to my advantage and it’s one of the skills that I know I can further develop. That is the NEXT phase of my training – to adapt MY GAME to my opponent’s CURRENT mindset… I now have that skill and ability to adapt like this – something I previously didn’t have.
  5. I was ‘vindicated or validated’ in my perception when the scorer for my game came to me and said he was glad I pulled out a win after ‘so many bad calls’. He confirmed that my perception wasn’t biased, that from his perspective in the gallery, that he believed the calls were not ‘fair and balanced’. To further substantiate my perceptions, 2 or 3 people came up to me after the match to ask how I went and when I told them I won in 5, then unanimously said “I woudda thought you’d take him in 3 straight.”

So there it is the drama of competition – we’re reasons or we’re results.

The last time I competed I was really disappointed in my result because I had a reason that I was unable to resolve on the court when it happened.

I promised myself right then and then – NEVER AGAIN.


Wish me luck for my next matches!

3 Responses to “Match #1 2009 Australian Masters Squash Championships”

  • Marc
    Firstly Congratulations on the win,
    But you are living what you preach, learn from your previous lessons, prepare, practice and perform.
    Then move on.
    It is a pleasure to read your description of the game and your dissection of (seemingly) every part of the game.
    Go forward, I wont say “good luck”
    I will say Just Rewards!

    Tell us more Doctor.


  • Marc,

    CONGRATULATION…you definitely deserve it! 🙂


  • Marc!

    Awesome result – great come-back – hit those nicks and keep it tight!

    Run them hard in the next one, and let us know how it turns out!


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