IRISHMAN Sean Conroy is aiming to use Bendigo as a stepping stone to the Professional Squash Association’s top 100.
Conroy is among the men’s entrants for the Bendigo International Squash Open, which gets under way on Thursday at the Bendigo Squash Centre in Barnard Street.
Conroy is the No.2 seed for the men’s event, which features qualifying matches on Thursday.
The 24-year-old says he’s confident of a strong showing in Bendigo following an intensive block of training and strong recent performances in New Zealand, which included reaching the quarter-finals of the Squash XL Open in Auckland last month.
“I changed my training slightly and focused a lot more on the physical side and that gave me a lot of confidence,” Conroy said this week.
“I enjoyed playing in New Zealand. The tournament in Auckland was played on 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 enjoy it.”
Meanwhile, the women’s field includes 24-year-old Taylor Flavell, who is seeded No.3.
Flavell cracked the top 100 in the PSA women’s rankings for the first time earlier this year.
“I’m feeling really confident of heading into the Bendigo Open as it’s the highest I’ve ever been seeded,” Flavell said.
“Breaking the top 100 was a great milestone for me; it took a lot of hard work and dedication to squash.”
Flavell’s ascension into the top 100 came on the back of quarter-final finishes in four of her past six PSA World Tour tournaments stretching back to October last year.
She now has her sights set on her long-term goals of climbing up the rankings and securing a start in larger competitions overseas.
“It’s important for me to try to better my results at each tournament to gain the consistency of points for my world ranking,” Flavell said.
“As long as I keep my points up, my average will continue to grow, meaning, hopefully, a better ranking each month.”
Flavell is seeded behind Christine Nunn and Sarah Cardwell.
“I’m looking forward to challenging myself; the chance to put what I’ve been working on into practice and, hopefully, feeling the satisfaction of playing the way I want to play,” top seed Nunn said.
“Regardless of the location or event, part of being professional is being able to perform regardless, which is a skill mindset I’ve developed over the years.”
The main draw of matches in the men’s and women’s events get under way on Friday.
Finals are on Sunday.