At the start of the 2019-2020 campaign, Alan Clyne was languishing in his lowest position in the World Rankings for the best part of eight years, sitting at World No.48.
The Scotsman has fought hard over the course of the season, though, and has made his way back inside the top 40 in the world. However, he knows where he needs to improve if he is to match his highest ever position of World No.24 in the future.
“I would love to get back up to achieve my highest ranking which was 24 but I know to achieve that I have to be improving my consistency in performance and be more clinical and come through the big matches,” Clyne said.
“I don’t obsess over the ranking now like maybe I once did. I try to find the enjoyment in the process of developing and competing and I feel like as long as that is happening the rankings come.”
Clyne himself admits that the season was not the best in terms of results, but he does feel in a slightly better place when it comes to talking about his performances.
“It’s been up and down where I made a good start to the season but there have been a few performances I haven’t been happy with,” the Scot added.
“I do feel like I have developed a few things in my game which have made me harder to beat however there are still some flaws that haven’t been ironed out.”
Clyne (left) in action against Miguel Rodriguez at the Men's World Championships
The World No.39 believes that the good start he had to the campaign, which included a runner-up finish and a PSA Gold quarter-final appearance, helped him build a platform for the season.
Clyne made it all the way to the final of the northwestern Mutual Life Time Houston Open, before a last 16 appearance at the Open de France – Nantes presented by Tailor Capital. He then reached the last eight at the Oracle NetSuite Open in San Francisco, and he attributes his good term to that start.
“The start of the season is very important from a mental side of the game. If you don’t get a win in your first two or three tournaments you can really get down on yourself and it can be hard to rebuild the confidence,” he explained.
“Thankfully my first tournament in Houston went well and I made the final. Then I followed it up with good performances in Nantes and San Francisco and it really gives you that belief that the work you did during the summer block was successful and you can use it as a platform for the season.”
In December, Clyne represented his country at the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championships. The Scottish team came home in 7th place after their week in Washington, D.C., their best performance in the tournament since 2003.
Clyne (fore) featuring for Scotland at the Men's World Team Championships in December
Clyne was a regular in the team throughout the tournament, alongside Greg Lobban, Rory Stewart and Stuart George, and he admits that it was a honour to play for his nation once again.
“It’s an honour to represent Scotland and I’ve been lucky enough to manage to do it over 150 times now,” Clyne said.
“The World Teams is a very gruelling event as you can end up playing every day for seven days which is something you don’t do in a PSA event.
However, it is something I like as you can build on your performances day after day, if you have a bad one you could have an immediate chance (if selected) to rectify it. It also shows how important looking after your body is and recovery is crucial to keep performing at the end of the event.”