Wild card Joe is a glass act
By ALAN THATCHER
young players are often nervous about playing on the glass
court. Not so Joe Lee, for he enjoys the luxury of
regular practice sessions and team matches on the new all-glass
court installed at the superb St George’s Hill Club in
Lee, the wild card in the ISS Canary Wharf Classic, is getting
used to the experience. His most recent show-court appearances
were against Thierry Lincou, a supreme athlete who is still
playing phenomenal squash well into his 30s and Canada’s to
player, Shahier Razik, in the World Open.
Despite a straight-games defeat, Lee emerged from the contest
with a greater knowledge of how to cope against the world’s
leading players, and the kind of torment that follows if you
said: “I played Lincou in the PSA Masters in India in December.
It was pretty tough. I learnt quite a lot from that. Although I
went down 3-0 the first game was fairly close.”
The 21-year-old Lee recently collected his first PSA World Tour
title after winning the le Sport open in Rhos-on-Sea, Wales.
Entering the tournament as top seed, Lee beat Kent’s Steven
London before facing a succession of Surrey team-mates. He beat
Alex Ingham in the quarter-finals and Charles Sharps in the
semi-finals before beating Egyptian Karim Ali Fathi in the
The championship showdown was Lee’s shortest match of the week
as he finished the event in ruthless style, winning 11-5, 11-6,
11-1 in just 30 minutes.
was a very enjoyable week,” he said. “They were all 3-0 results
and that’s very good for the confidence.”
Lee’s main coach is the great thinker Peter Genever, who
runs a squad out of the Dolphin Square club on the Chelsea
I spoke to Lee after he got off the train following a morning
coaching session with Genever that he was following up with a
solo session and a swim at St George’s.
Lee revealed some of the insights being imparted by Genever. The
6ft 1in Lee said: “Peter wants me to concentrate a lot on using
my physical presence – my height and size – to my advantage on
the court. He also wants me to become as efficient and
technically proficient as possible.
“I was training this morning with Azlan Iskandar and although I
am a lot taller than him you wouldn’t think so.
“Although there is a line you don’t cross in terms of dangerous
play, Peter wants me to use my space when it is my shot and to
have a greater presence on court.
“When you play the top pros they are always in your eye line
which is a little bit intimidating. It’s hard to get the ball
past them. It’s a constant reminder of how good your quality of
shot has to be. You just can’t relax.”
Lee is currently ranked 57 in the world, climbing 11 places in
the January rankings.
came on the back of qualifying for the first round of the World
Open in Saudi Arabia and claiming a place in the first round of
the PSA Masters in Delhi.
He lost to Canada’s number one Razik in the World Open, but felt
“the first two games could have gone either way”.
Lee added: “ I played him in the London Open a few weeks earlier
and lost that one 3-1. He is quite a test to play. The moment
you stop attacking you get dragged all round the court. You just
have to trust your own shots, and that’s why Peter wants me to
“The last two months, things have happened in bursts. I would
like to carry on the momentum through the season and push
through towards the number 40 slot in the rankings.
“In the past year, since I have been training with Peter and
left the juniors behind, I have tried to tidy up my game and
play more attacking squash.
“I used to feed off what my opponent was doing and sometimes you
get outplayed without doing a lot wrong yourself. It proves that
you have go to go out and win matches.”
Leading up to the ISS Canary Wharf Classic, Joe will be playing
the Swedish Open, the British Nationals, and a new tournament in
England Squash and Racketball have set Joe a ranking target of
reaching the top 45 by June so he is hoping for a solid
performance at Canary Wharf.
The son of former professional Danny Lee, the resident
coach at St George’s Hill, Joe is hoping for solid support from
his friends and family in Surrey as he makes his PSA debut at
the East Wintergarden.
Born: 6 October 1989
Height: 6ft 1in (186cm)
Turned pro: 2006
Current World Ranking: 57
Highest World Ranking: 57 (January 2011)
Club: St george’s Hill, Weybridge.
Racket and strings: Tecnifibre
Personal sponsors: TWP Accounting, Weybridge.
Coaches: Peter Genever and Danny Lee.