• ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic • 21st to 25th March 2011 • London •  




Wild card Joe is a glass act

Most 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 Weybridge, Surrey.

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 don’t.

Lee 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 final.

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.

“That 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 embankment.

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.

That 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 attack more.

“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 Turkey.

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

Age: 21

Birthplace: London

Residence: Walton-on-Thames

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.



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