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Naughton celebrates after a win at the Oracle NetSuite Open

Hollie Naughton: "Becoming the No.1 in Canada is a Great Honour"

The 2019/20 season has been one of great things for Canadian Hollie Naughton, as she won her first title for three years, became her nation’s No.1 and made the move into the top 30 in the World Rankings.

After breaking into the top 30 for the first time in March 2019, Naughton cemented herself as a top 30 player throughout the 2019/20 season, and now sits at a career-high World No.25, moving up one spot after the retirement of Raneem El Welily.

The Canadian is happy to have made her mark on the top 30, but she knows that the aim is even further up the World Rankings.

“I am happy to break into the top 30, but still want to break into the next band in the rankings,” Naughton said.

“It’s just believing in the process and keeping your eye on the bigger picture. I feel like I have been in the top 30 for a while, but when I look back, I guess it hasn’t really been that long. That’s my impatience and want/need for more.”

In the process, the 25-year-old has become Canada’s No.1 player, moving slightly further above her contenders for the position, including Danielle Letourneau, who sits seven place below Naughton in the World Rankings.

“Becoming the No.1 in Canada is a great honour. It’s always great to lead your country, and hopefully [I can] inspire younger generations. It’s been one of my goals for a while, and I hope that I can keep it up!” she explained.

Naughton in action during the 2019/20 season

The rise up the rankings has been helped by a first victory on the PSA World Tour in over three years. The Canadian had gone since November 2016 without a title before winning the Racquet Club Pro-Series event in February 2020.

She only dropped three games throughout the entire week, and won the final against American Olivia Fiechter inside half an hour, taking the third title of her professional career.

“Breaking the three-year drought was a very special moment for me, not only for winning a tournament, but for my mental strength too,” she admitted.

“It had been a while since I had that pressure on me to win, and back it up day after day. I have been working with my sports psychologist on dealing with this, and I felt like during this tournament it all came together.

“I didn’t feel like I played my best the whole time, but mentally I was very happy with how I dealt with it all and got over the finish line.”

So, 2019/20 saw Naughton took a first victory in three seasons, move above her compatriots as the leading squash player in Canada, and make a move into the top 25, but she is still looking for more when the Tour gets back underway.

“I had many goals starting the season, some were met and others not quite. I was happy to win another tournament and with some good results, but still I have many goals left to achieve. I’m hungry to get going with next season and build on everything I have learned from this one,” she explained.

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