card Charles Sharpes is a Tottenham Hotspur fan. He loves the
idea of being called the Gareth Bale of squash.
If he is to live up to his heroís name, he might have to a bit
of giant-killing at Canary Wharf.
Whatís to stop him? Well, heís drawn James Willstrop in the
first round, for the second time in three years.
BY ALAN THATCHER
1: Charles, you've drawn former world number one James
Willstrop in the first round. How do you feel about taking on
such a great player?
I'm so excited to be playing James. He's obviously an amazing
player and someone I have looked up to throughout my career, so
to get a chance to play him again really excites me.
2: You met him at the same stage two years ago. What did
you learn from that match to take into this one?
Yes, I met James when I qualified for the main draw in 2011 and
that was a great experience. It really showed me how tough these
top boys were to play on the glass court but I think I gave a
really good account of myself that day and definitely learned a
lot from the whole experience. Hopefully this time I'll be more
equipped for the match.
3: How would you say your game has developed in the past
I think my game has been developed a lot in the last year, I've
been working hard to add some different variations into my game
mainly the defensive side, which wasn't easy at first but I feel
like I'm really starting to see signs of it clicking together
now and feel like things are moving in the right direction for
4: Please list a few of your best results in that time.
A: My best two wins of the year were probably against Mohamed
Nafizwan Adnan (3-2 in Calgary) and Shahier Razik (3-0 in
Sudbury) these were two good wins for me against experienced PSA
players in the top 30 in world and hopefully I can back that up
with some more big wins.
5: I see you had a superb win over Olivier Pett in the
PSL. That must have been a great match.
A: Yes, that was a good win for me and it was a really good
match. It's never going to be easy against a player of Ollie's
class but I was really happy with my performance and happy to
get the win.
6: Please tell us a little of your training programme.
A: Well I'm based over at Potters Bar with my coach Paul Carter,
so I'm over there most days with the rest of the Potters Bar
boys, but still see Phil Rushworth back at my home club in
Wimbledon. He will always be there to help me and the
combination I have between him and Carts works brilliantly for
me (also helps that they get on really well, too). I also get a
lot of help from the EIS and see my strength and conditioning
coach Rhys Ingram two times a week. He's been brilliant for me
since I started working with him six months ago and along with
Gary Nesbit, who gives me one speed session/plyometrics a week,
I really feel I'm starting to get a lot stronger and seeing the
benefit . As you can see I have got a nice team around me.
What are your favourite tournaments so far, and why
A: My favourite tournaments are usually the ones I do well at
!!! But my favourite has to be the one in Vancouver at the
Jericho club. The club is out of this world, the city was
incredible and I just loved everything about that tournament. I
loved my experience at Canary Wharf two years ago. The
atmosphere was amazing. You couldn't get a better experience
than playing in your home-town, so I cannot wait to get back on
the glass court there this year.
8: What are your professional targets for the next two
years, and who helps you to draw them up?
A: Well, I obviously sit down with England Squash at the end of
every season and we evaluate how the season has gone and we also
plan for the next one, with ranking targets and other personal
things. From my point of view, I just want to keep working on
the right things with my coach and just striving to be as good
as I can be and hopefully Iíll carry on moving up the rankings.
9: What sponsors do you have at the moment?
Nutrition: Optimum Nutrition
Also, an online sport shop called Racketnation, who advertise on
So grateful to the support all these give me and without them I
couldn't do what I do.
10: With many of the leading English players in their late
20s and early 30s, some great opportunities lie ahead for the
young players coming through. How much inspiration do you draw
from fellow London boy Tom Richards now being up to 12 in the
Itís been amazing to see Tomís jump up through the rankings and
he really deserves to be where he is at the moment. It gives me
a lot of inspiration to see it can be done. I've been training
with Tom from the age of 10, so now I just need to follow in his
footsteps and hopefully we will both be at the top of the game
in the future.
11: Regarding the Olympic bid, you will be at your peak in
2020 if squash gets in. What are your thoughts on the Bid?
A: Itís a really exciting time for squash at the moment and it
seems like the media is getting more involved, which is
brilliant. The bid looks very positive and I hope this is the
year we finally get to where we deserve to be, and youíre right,
I will be in my prime in 2020, so fingers crossed for me and our