Irish invader hunts first PSA World Tour title in Bendigo

IRISHMAN Sean Conroy will be looking to continue his push towards the PSA World Tour top 100 at the 2018 Bendigo International Open as he aims for his first title on the international squash circuit.

Embarking on his second tour of Australia and his first visit to Bendigo, Conroy is seeded number two in the men’s open draw and enters the tournament fresh off reaching a career-high ranking of 141 in May.

The 24-year-old says he is confident of a strong showing at the Bendigo International Open following an intensive block of training and strong recent performances in New Zealand, which included a quarter-final placing at the SquashXL Open in Auckland at the end of June.

“I had a five-week training block before my tour of New Zealand and Australia,” Conroy said.

“I changed my training slightly and focused a lot more on the physical side and that gave me a lot of confidence.

“I lacked match practice, but after my tournament in Invercargill I played a graded event and got three tough matches, which helped a lot. 

“I enjoyed playing in New Zealand. The tournament in Auckland was played on an all glass court so it will be different playing conditions to Bendigo.

“I enjoyed my squash in Auckland so my main focus for Bendigo is to play with no pressure and to enjoy it.”

While Conroy has high hopes for what can be achieved at the Bendigo International Open, he remains well aware of the pitfalls that come with looking too far ahead.

He also knows his development as a professional squash player is ongoing, and says a greater emphasis on self-reflection after matches has been a key to improving his all-round game.

“My goal is to win the tournament, however I am just focused on my first round match against Haris Iqbal at the moment,” Conroy said.

“In the past I have learned from looking too far into the draw. My first round match against Haris should be a good match.

“Losing is all part of sport and I think you just have to accept that. I have been working on analysing my games more this season and it’s helped me figure out how I’m winning and losing matches.”

Having only competed against one other competitor listed for the Bendigo International Open, Conroy remains something of an unknown quantity to his competitors.

But with Bendigo marking his last PSA World Tour event for several months, the young Irishman will be hoping to go deep into the tournament as he attempts to continue his upward trajectory in the world rankings.

The 2018 Bendigo International Open gets underway this Thursday with the men’s open qualifying and round one matches, before the first round of main draw matches in the women’s open on Friday.

Matches for the graded events will begin on Friday night, with the competition for both the open and graded competitions running through the weekend and finishing with the finals on Sunday afternoon.