British National champion Alison Waters believes she is on course to mount a meaningful challenge for her first Allam British Open title after an encouraging comeback from injury in the European Team Championship in Italy last week.
The 30-year-old Londoner had been troubled by an Achilles niggle since the World Championship in March and had to pull out of the Texas Open last month, but she declared herself fit and ready for a return to the WSA Tour after starring in England’s successful defence of the women’s title in Riccione at the weekend.
“I hope the injury is behind me and it is pain-free now, which is good news,” said the world no.6. “I trained hard in the gym to keep my fitness up whilst I was off court and now it’s just a question of getting some practice in and sharpening up.
“It was great to play the Europeans, as I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it or not. It’s an event I look forward to every year and to win it again was fantastic for everyone.
“For me, it was great to get some matches under my belt in the build-up to the British. It gives me confidence knowing I have had some matches and two back-to-back ones as well.
“I felt like my form got better during the week and hopefully with one more good week’s training, that will help sharpen me up as well for the British.”
Waters beat Switzerland’s Gaby Huber 3/1 in the group stage, before routing Ireland’s Aisling Blake D Bal Max 3/0 in the semi-finals and sealing England’s victory with a straight-games success against France’s Laura Pomportes in the final.
Now the fifth seed is preparing for an Allam British Open first-round tie against a qualifier on May 13 at the University of Hull before a potential second-round encounter at Hull’s Sports Arena against in-form Indian Dipika Pallikal.
“The British Open is one of the most important events of the year,” Waters stressed. “The event has such a big history and there are so many great names on the trophy that it is the ‘Wimbledon’ of squash. It’s a very big target for me and I would love to get my name on the trophy.
“The title is wide open this year, which makes for a very exciting event. Obviously on paper Nicol David is the favourite, but Laura Massaro is the defending champion and current world champion, so she will be looking to retain her title.
“A lot of players, including myself, will be looking to get their name on the trophy for the first time and on the day I think anyone can win it. It’s too tough to call what will happen.”