Emily Whitlock breathed a sigh of relief when she was awarded a wildcard entry to next month’s Allam British Open in Hull after some mixed recent results – now she just wants to enjoy the experience of playing in the main draw for only the second time.
“I’m not too fussed on winning and losing these days,” said the Wales-based 20-year-old. “I used to be, but now I just want to play well. If I can play well and enjoy my time on court, then I’m sure the results will follow.”
The former British Junior Open champion certainly gave a good account of herself in last year’s first round before losing 3/1 to Middlesex’s Alison Waters and this year she faces Australian Kasey Brown, who is ranked lower than the British national champion at 14.
“I played really well against Alison in the first round in Pontefract and I do believe it’s because I didn’t have to go through qualifying and played her fresh,” Whitlock said. “So this year I’m hoping I can put in a good performance against Kasey.
“On paper, getting Kasey looks better than drawing say Nicol [David] or Laura [Massaro], but it’s not. It’s all tough and I’m going to have to play well to get a game, let alone win!”
Currently, the Macclesfield-born right-hander says she is performing “ok”, with quarter-final appearances in the British National Championships, Calgary Squash Week and Winnipeg Winter Club Open sandwiched between early exits in the World Championship and Windy City Open, although she did beat two players ranked higher than her in the Chicago qualifiers.
“I can’t get the balance between how hard/light to train in between tournaments right every time,” she said. “But I’m still learning and hopefully with a couple of weeks leading up to the British, I’ll be really fresh.”
Whitlock feels that will be key to her performance in Hull and why she is grateful to England Squash and Racketball for her wildcard.
“If you don’t qualify, you get rubbish points, so knowing I’ve got decent points already is a sigh of relief,” she pointed out.
Eventually, the reigning London Open champion would love to add the senior British Open title to the under-19 one she claimed in January last year.
“With my winning the British Junior Open, I hope to add a senior title one day,” she said. “That would be a brilliant feeling to be able to say I won it in both ‘playing careers’.
“It’s top of my list. It’s got the tradition, the prestige. Obviously being World Champion is a massive achievement and I want to be able to say I’ve won that tournament too, but the British Open has got so much history and I want to be a part of that.”