Germany’s Raphael Kandra shot to fame by reaching the semi-finals of the British Open in 2018 as a qualifier, and he made it into the top 16 in the World Rankings shortly after.
Since then, things have not gone as well for the Paderborn-based left-hander, reaching the quarter-finals in just four events over the last two seasons.
Kandra has now fallen out of the top 25 in the World Rankings, but admits that he has been working more on the mental side of his game as he attempts to fight his way back into that ranking mark when the Tour starts up again.
“I know that my ranking improved a lot after the British Open in 2018. I was very relaxed back then and did not care about rankings and points that much,” he explained.
“I have been working a lot on my mental side this year. I think this will make a big impact for the upcoming season [and help me] to get back to where I was and push even further.”
The German started the season on a good note, as he reached the last eight of the Oracle NetSuite Open, a PSA Gold event held in San Francisco.
Kandra (left) celebrates after defeating Simon Rösner (right)
He got the better of compatriot, and then-World No.5, Simon Rösner in the second round of the tournament, defeating his fellow German for the first time ever on the PSA World Tour, but he was unable to get past Marwan ElShorbagy in the quarter-finals, a defeated which stayed with him.
“It was a good tournament, especially after I beat Simon for the first time on tour. But to be honest I am not happy with the result in the quarters,” he said
“I think it stayed in my head after for too long. If I could have accepted it earlier, then better results would have come sooner.”
Despite that seemingly damaging defeat, Kandra was a key part of the German team that travelled to Washington, D.C. for the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championships in December.
Alongside Rösner, Rudi Rohrmuller and Valentin App, Kandra was part of the team that finished in the top six at the tournament, a result only bettered in Mulhouse six years previous.
“It’s always an honour to represent your country especially as a sportsman,” the German admitted.
“We had a tough group and lost the important match against Spain but after that loss, we came back and found our spirit again to finish in the top six.”