The 2021/2022 season was a steady one for World No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry, with two finals appearances, coming at the Cleveland Classic and the Manchester Open, on her way to featuring at the season-ending CIB PSA World Tour Finals once again.
We caught up with the English No.1 to hear her thoughts on the season, and what she is looking to do for the 2022/2023 campaign.
“I think, overall, it’s been mostly pretty good. There’s been a couple of disappointing early losses and a couple where I have pushed some of those real top few and haven’t quite got the win and things like that.
“It has been a pretty steady season by my standards, but not winning those titles that I wanted to be pushing for. A couple of finals but I didn’t manage to win either of those so that was a bit disappointing.
“But, to be back at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals again is always a sign that you have done pretty well over the year, and something to absolutely not take for granted. That shows that overall, I had a pretty decent season. There were glimpses of the squash that I wanted to play, so I will be looking to make that happen more consistently over the next year, for sure.
“I definitely struggled in the first part of the season, with a bit of an injury and that was not allowing me to train as much as I wanted. That affects you, not only physically but mentally.
“You haven’t quite got that confidence in how you want to play, so that was really challenging and I think that is in a good place now and that is something that we are looking to keep building on.
“My physicality takes time to build and it is definitely in a good place so I am looking to keep using forward and keep the niggles away. That is always a good start, and then once you are able too push consistently there, I can not only build my physicality, but my squash, and keep that mental consistency as well during the matches, to be able to keep my foot down on the gas for the whole time.
“I know when I play my best squash that it can trouble any player in the world. I have confidence in that, I just have to have the full confidence that I can do that for an hour, hour and a half, and for five days in a row. I have done it before, I know I can. It is just getting back to that place for me, there is nothing major that needs to change in my game, we are always working on the technical side and the patterns, but I think a lot of it is to just keep plugging away on the mental side.
“I think also, the skill level of all the players in the top ten, particularly, has gone up as well. It is good, it’s fantastic to push that level up and we have only seen that grow and grow over the last couple of years, five years, ten years even.
“There is a group pushing along, you used to get the odd player from outside the top two winning one of the big events, but now I think it is a bit more open. They also have some of us knocking at the door, trying to challenge and it makes the last 16 and quarter finals really exciting, rather than them being full-gone conclusions.
“That is something that is fantastic and the physicality that those players have brought to the game has really asked questions of the physicality of the other players as well. At the end of the day, the beauty of squash is that it can be about skill, about mentality, about physicality, and just because somebody might have you on one of those, doesn’t mean you can’t win by having them on one of the others.
“You are trying to find those chinks in the armour, it’s part off the joy of playing, mentally working out how to get the better of a certain style of player, or physical strengths and weaknesses, is just as interesting as well.”