British National Squash Championships 2014  •  10-16 February  •  Manchester

  PLAYERS: #2 Sarah-Jane Perry

#2: Sarah-Jane Perry

Sarah-Jane Perry has promised “one hell of a fight” for her opponents as she bids for her first National crown in Manchester next week.

The new world number 16’s pledge should be put to the ultimate test as early as the quarter-finals, since she is expected to face top seed Laura Massaro then.

“I’m always going to back myself,” said the joint fifth seed when asked who she thought would win the title. “But if it’s not me who wins, it will be someone who has to withstand one hell of a fight from me!”

First, though, the 23-year-old from Kenilworth has to overcome Lisa Aitken in the first round and she has played her only once as a senior – in the first round of last year’s BSPA Grand Prix Finals, when Perry triumphed 3/2.

“We played a few times in the juniors and once since, but it should be a good match,” said the reigning British under-23 champion.

“I’m pretty pleased with my form at the moment. I beat two higher-ranked players at the Tournament of Champions and was very close to causing another upset against the world number five [Joelle King in the Greenwich Open].”

Of particular delight to Perry has been the way her back has coped with flying to the USA and back, as well as consecutive tournaments, following two months off with two fractures in a vertebra of her lumbar spine at the tail end of last year.

“My back was absolutely no issue before, during or after either of the events, which was great,” she commented. “I slept a bit funny on the plane on the way home, though, and gave myself a stiff neck for a day or two!”

Now the seven-time WSA Tour title winner is fit and raring to go in Manchester, where she is eager to improve on her career-best performance of the quarter-finals.

“The Nationals are really important,” she stressed. “To be able to say you are National Champion is a big thing, especially when you consider the strength and depth of British squash.”

Sarah Kippax ] Emma Beddoes ] [ Sarah-Jane Perry ] Adrian Grant ] Chris Simpson ] Laura Massaro ]

Sarah-Jane Perry

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