11 POINTS WITH ALISON WATERS
Wild card Alison Waters is looking forward to playing in her home city after a long spell out of action. She has hit top form on her comeback, winning three tournaments in a row, and is keen to fight her way back up to the top six.
INTERVIEW BY ALAN THATCHER
1: Alison, two great achievements this year: the British Open returning to London and you returning to court after injury. You must be pleased with the way you are playing after so long out of action.
Yes, it’s been a long time coming and the most important thing is I’m back playing and am injury free. Being out for so long it definitely has made me appreciate that I’m so lucky to be doing what I love for a living and that you have to make the most of it while you can! Also, to feel I have come back in really good shape and form makes me even more happy!
It’s fantastic news!! It’s a tournament that means a lot to me and especially being in my home town London as well makes it even more special. I remember when I was younger going to Wembley to watch it when it was on there and collecting lots of autographs and just absolutely loved being there, so to be playing in it and in London is pretty amazing.
3: Winning the Irish Open followed the Atwater Cup and Granite Club Open in Canada. You beat Laura Massaro in the semis and Madeline Perry in the final. That must have been a tough week, going all the way through from qualifying.
Yes, I haven’t had to qualify for a tournament for a good few years so to play six matches was something new! It was a great week and mentally you just have to get your head round playing a few extra matches. Honestly, I was just loving being back on court so I would have played 10 matches if I had needed to!
Fitness-wise, I felt in good shape and i knew that I had put the hard work in coming back from injury so I was confident going into the tournament. Also it was great to beat both the number 3 and 4 in the world and to feel that I’m back up to where I was. That felt pretty good!!
5: Winning most of your matches in straight games must have been a massive boost.
I did drop one game in the quarters but the semis and final were both 3-0. Yes, it’s a good feeling to not only win but to win a solid 3-0. Playing six games that week you kind of want to get on and off as quickly as possible so you have more energy for the later rounds and I managed to do that, so I went into the final still feeling in good shape and that definitely helped me.
I was suffering from tendonitis in my Achilles for about a year. I did endless rehab to try and get rid of it but in the end i had to have an operation to remove a bone spur which was causing the problem. I suppose it was a good 12-18 months out.
People always say that after a long-term injury break you do tend to come back stronger and I definitely feel that. It’s like a new beginning in a way and I’m really enjoying being back and hungry to win things!
7: How did you fill your time while you were unable to play squash? A few trips on that Virgin train named after you, perhaps?
Ha, yes, I hope my train is still running!! I started learning Spanish for a few weeks but that didn’t really take off that well. I was too interested in getting fit again and I was rehabbing and gyming twice a day so that kept me busy!! Otherwise it was probably me annoying the hell out of my family and friends!
8: Big decision this week: staying at home or the tournament hotel?
Well first round on Tuesday we are at St George’s Hill so I will stay there Monday night, then I will just see how the week goes. If all goes well then hopefully a bit of both!!
I’m not even sure if I have played Wee Wern before! I feel like i have but can’t remember and if we have it was ages ago! I have seen her play, though, and she moves and hits the ball well so I will have to be on my toes. I’m really looking forward to it.
10: What did you think of Jenny and Laura going up in the London Eye the other day?
A: Yes, I saw the pictures and it looked really good! This is what will really help squash, big publicity things like that. In big places, locations where there are lots of people and interest. Also something different as well, which playing squash on the London Eye certainly is.
A: Embarrassing to say I have only been to the O2 once and it wasn’t to see a gig or show, it was for a Wagamamas! I don’t get out much! Ha! It looks like an amazing venue, though, and it’s fantastic to have the British Open there.
Thanks, Alison. It’s great to see you back in action and good luck at the Open.