In the next part of a series taking a look back at the 2019-20 season to date, MATT COLES spoke to Alison Waters about her form over the last 12 months.
— — — —
The 2019-20 season was a frustrating one for England’s Alison Waters, who suffered with some bad form and injury, but once back to full fitness, the goal is clear. Get back into the top ten in the World Rankings.
The Englishwoman only featured in seven tournaments across the 2019-2020 campaign, and she would not rate her season that highly.
“5/10. Only a few real stand out matches for me so far this season which came at the World Championships, reaching the last 16 and then the quarters of Tournament of Champions,” she explained.
“Also, an injury sustained in February means the second half of the season never really got going for me.”
At the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions (TOC), held in New York in January, Waters made it all the way through to the quarter-finals in her best performance of the campaign.
The former World No.3 got the better of Nada Abbas and compatriot Emily Whitlock in straight games to reach the last eight at Grand Central Terminal, and she was happy with how she was playing at that time.
Waters (right) and Whitlock on court at the Tournament of Champions
“This was the highlight of the season for me and I really enjoyed the week at TOC, which is one of my favourite events,” Waters admitted.
“I worked hard over December and the Christmas break and felt like my game was in a good, calm and controlled place.”
The first event of 2020 was, by far, her best of the season. The early part of the season saw Waters lose out in the last 16 in China, before reaching the last eight in Nantes.
Despite making it to the quarter-finals of the PSA Silver tournament, and playing at the magnificent Chateau des ducs de Bretagne, the Englishwoman did not believe she played to her best.
“I don’t think I started the season well. Even though reaching the quarter-finals was good in Nantes, I believed I could have gone further,” the Englishwoman admitted.
“I felt like I only started finding some form and belief in my game at the World Championships in Egypt. It was nice to play three matches in one event for a change!!”
Waters then went on to reach the last 16 at the CIB PSA Women’s World Championship at the Pyramids, losing out to Raneem El Welily in the third round of the tournament.
Waters (fore) in action against the World No.1 at the Pyramids.
After the TOC, Carol Weymuller Open and the Cleveland Classic, the World No.15 then played in the British National Championships.
However, instead of challenging for a fifth Nationals title, Waters picked up an ankle injury, which then ruled her out of the Windy City Open 2020 presented by the Walter Family, and the CIB Black Ball Women’s Open in Cairo.
“An ankle injury at the British Nationals which initially was thought to be inflammation ended up being more serious and after seeing an ankle specialist I’m now in a boot for a month which is hard work!!” the former World No.3 said.
“It’s always disappointing when you have to miss events due to injury and this is the hardest part of sport.”
Although this season has not been Waters’ best, due to poor form and injuries, the Englishwoman is still looking forward, and believes she can rise back up the World Rankings when she is back from the ankle injury she is recovering from.
“I believe once I’m recovered from my current injury and regain full fitness then I can definitely challenge to get back into the top 10,” Waters said.
“As we have seen from the last few tournaments there are more and more upsets in the women’s game now and everyone is fighting hard to get up the rankings.”
Even with the poor form and injuries, Waters has continued an impressive run. The former World No.3 has now sat inside the top 16 in the World Rankings for the best part of 14 years, one of the longest such runs in the rankings today.
“I’m very proud of this statistic considering how strong the tour is and how hard physically and mentally it can be to play for such a long period of time. To still be enjoying playing and competing is a nice feeling as well,” she explained.