Tom Richards

ē Canary Wharf Squash Classic ē 18th to 22nd March 2013 ē London ē  


 11 Points with:
  Mohamed El Shorbagy ] Charles Sharpes ] [ Tom Richards ] Miguel Rodriguez ]
 11 Points with:  Tom Richards


Englandís Tom Richards is knocking on the door of the world top ten and is keen to win his first Canary Wharf title.

Londoner Tom is sure to have some enthusiastic backing from the home crowd as he bids to make an impression.

He meets a qualifier in the first round and is seeded to meet his good friend and some-time mentor Peter Barker in the second.

In a fascinating quarter of the draw, Nick Matthew meets Miguel Angel Rodriguez of Colombia, and Botswanaís former England international Alister Walker enjoys an all-Africa clash with Steve Coppinger, who is cementing a place in the top 20.

The 26-year-old Tom, who is 6ft 1in tall and lives in Walton-on-Thames, answers questions about life, squash and Canary Wharf.

1: Tom, good to see you at 12 in the PSA rankings.
What are the key results that have got you up there?

Winning the Montreal Open last year was a real breakthrough for me, both in terms of a ranking boost and also mentally as it gave me belief. In that tournament I beat Hisham Ashour in the semis and Thierry Lincou in the final. Apart from that I've been consistent over the year and that's helped to improve my ranking up to its current level.

2: You are now the fourth-highest Englishman in the world rankings. Please tell us about your training programme and coaches who are helping you.

I do a lot of training on my own and this will be mainly in the gym doing anything from endurance based sessions to really short, sharp interval sessions. I also do a lot of circuits with power endurance based weights. As a general rule Iíd say I get on court around five times a week. That could be feeding sessions, matches or group practice. Iíve been working a lot with Chris Robertson, the England national coach, who has helped me greatly and I will also get on court with Danny Lee and Steve Meads.

3: Where do you do most of your training?

All round London! My home club is St Georgeís Hill in Weybridge, and having a glass court there is a massive boost. Iíll also go to Surrey Sports Park at Guildford when Robbo is down and Iíll go to any number of clubs in town when I have practice matches with the other English guys.

4: What are your targets for the rest of this year?

To win Canary Wharf! My aim is to get into the top 10 and that goes hand in hand with beating the top eight guys. Iíve never made the quarters of a World Series event so Iíd also like to achieve that.

5: What would a place in the top ten mean to you?

Itís been a goal of mine for a long time and itís why I train hard on a daily basis. I now feel like I'm in a position where I can warrant a place amongst the worldís best so itís just a question of producing in tournaments.

6: Do you ever feel slightly overawed when you get on court with the top guys or have you got past all that stuff now?

No, not really. Certainly playing the likes of Palmer as a young professional was nerve-wracking but I donít think I ever felt overawed. The people I looked up to growing up had either retired or were on the verge of retirement as I started so I never got the chance to experience playing them. I suppose the last great player left from when I started paying attention to squash is Amr Shabana, but we all spend so much time on tour together that you realise everyone's human!

7: I have seen you take the game to some of the best players and attack as much as you can. How would you describe your game?

I think Iím a naturally attacking player. I love volleying and trying to create angles, and I also really enjoy the movement part of the game along with a never say die attitude. Iíve mellowed a bit as Iíve got older and have understood the importance of good, straight hitting and this is what has helped me to compete against the top guys.

8: How much do you alter tactics depending on the opponent?

Every player I play Iíll have different tactics in mind. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. It's just a matter of understanding them and then applying your game accordingly. Squash is such a fluid game that these tactics can change as the match progresses and itís important to be aware of this.

9: Who are your current sponsors?

Wilson for rackets and apparel, Adidas for shoes and Tecnifibre for Strings.

10: Which players do you respect the most? And why?

A: Several! Of the current players, Amr Shabana is a true legend. To win four world titles says it all, and all with the best swing on tour. Nick Matthew has achieved so much, too, and is constantly looking to adapt his training to stay on top and it is his work ethic that I can really relate to.

Closer to home, I have a lot of respect for Peter Barker and Daryl Selby. They have both taught me a lot about the game over the years and as a young professional I was lucky enough to get on court with Peter a lot and he provided the baptism of fire that toughened me up for the tour!

 Growing up, I remember the many battles between Peter Nicol and Jonathon Power and this certainly sharpened my love for the game.

11: What would it mean to you if squash were to win a place in the 2020 Olympics?

 It would be absolutely massive! I would be 33 in 2020 so Iíd like to think I could just about hold on so on a personal level it would be great, but for the game it would improve things enormously. The increased exposure, funding, and sponsorship would all help raise the profile of the sport to the levels it deserves.

More Richards Photos

 11 Points with:
  Mohamed El Shorbagy ] Charles Sharpes ] [ Tom Richards ] Miguel Rodriguez ]

Tom Richards

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