The B I G Canary Wharf
11 POINTS WITH
The world No.16 tells ALAN THATCHER he feels 18 again.
Heís a man on a mission trying to help young people get
into squash and heís desperate to see squash become an Olympic
1: I spotted you training with England coach Chris Robertson at
Wimbledon on Sunday. What were you working on?
That would be giving it away! Actually, I was working on
bringing some new things into my game. We talked about attacking
more, but at the right times. It was good to see him just before
the tournament. A nice way to sharpen up before the event.
2: Itís good to see you back in Kent. How long is your
journey from home to Canary Wharf?
Exactly 20 minutes on the Tube from Dulwich! My parents live in
Greenwich and Iím not far away in Dulwich. I moved there
recently with my partner, Holly, who works here at Canary Wharf.
3: I hear thereís another young Grant on the junior scene.
Please tell us more.
Yes, my little brother Ryan Grant. Squash is one of many hobbies
for him and heís not played many tournaments yet but he did very
well in the British, beating one of the top seeds. Heís just
enjoying it at the moment and itís too early to talk about being
a pro or anything. He just loves playing and I love getting on
court with him whenever I can, and coaching him along with my
dad Trevor. Ryan plays mostly at Park Langley in Beckenham and
also at Virgin Active in Croydon (the old Esporta club).
4: The Olympics are on your doorstep. Are you going to
watch or renting out your penthouse apartment?
I will be watching bits of it but it will be a difficult time
for professional squash players because of the way we feel about
not being part of it. I train at Lee Valley with a lot of the
top British athletes like Dwain Chambers and hurdler Andy
Turner. They canít believe that squash is not in the Olympics.
Every day when I train with those guys I drive past the Olympic
Village and itís quite depressing. Itís a bitter pill to
5: First round match against Chris Simpson last night and
a tough quarter-final against Mohamed El Shorbagy this evening.
Thoughts on both, please.
Obviously I wanted to win last night. Iím feeling good and
playing well. I have a game plan and was looking forward to
playing on my own doorstep It was great to play at home and I
felt comfortable in the intimate atmosphere at the venue. I did
enough to win in my first match for nine days, so Iím confident
I will get better.
is one of many talented players coming through the Egyptian
ranks and on to the world scene. Last time we played I won but
since then he has broken into the top ten and improved a lot
with his attacking style. Iím looking forward to playing him
again. These are the matches and competitions you thrive on as a
professional squash player.
Canary Wharf, as always, is a great tournament. The guys at
Eventis have always set a high standard consistently down the
years. The quality of players and the sell-out crowds prove that
they deserve a lot of recognition. I would only ask if they
could put on another 12 events throughout the year, preferably
in London so I donít have to travel!
6: Adrian, you are still playing excellent squash at 31.
How long do you expect to keep playing?
I never put a marker on it. As long as I can play to the best of
my ability then I will carry on. I am still learning so many
elements of the game, physically and mentally. Because of that I
am actually enjoying it more than ever. Sometimes it feels like
I am just starting all over and that helps to keep me refreshed.
7: What are the biggest differences in training and
preparation that you have employed over the years?
My training has changed completely over the past ten years and I
feel like Iím 18 again! God willing my body will stay in one
piece. I am already looking forward to the Commonwealth Games in
Glasgow and I draw a lot of inspiration from watching guys like
Thierry Lincou still playing world-class squash at the age of
There is more science involved these days and the attention to
detail in every aspect of training helps players to extend the
longevity of their careers. Speed and fitness are key areas for
squash players. I understand my body better and know the things
that work well. The interesting thing is that these elements can
be completely different from individual to individual. We all
have different genes. I love trying new things to avoid being
We have a great lifestyle and I enjoy this great lifestyle, with
so much travelling to interesting places and making so many
friends all over the world.
The best match you have ever played in, and why?
Beating Gregory Gaultier in the World Open in Manchester was a
massive result. In a big tournament worth $200,000, a great
arena and a big crowd, that felt good and I managed to scalp a
I also played well to beat James Willstrop 3-1 in the British
Grand Prix, again in Manchester. More recently, I beat Hisham
Ashour 3-0 in the North American Open, and that showed that I
can still play the way I want to.
9: Can squash get in to the 2020 Olympics?
I hope so. As I said before, itís so strange going to the
Institute and the other athletes canít believe weíre not in.
Every man and his dog says the same.
We need to reach the handful of people who make the decisions
because thatís where we seem to be hitting a brick wall. They
are the people we need to convince. The professionalism and
athleticism of the leading squash players is so high and we just
have to keep pushing to get in. But, like a lot of the players,
I feel confident this time.
What would you like to do to help?
I will help in any way I can. Maybe go the talk to the IOC,
lock them in a room until they get right decision. All the
squash guys share the same thoughts about how much it means to
them and they all want to help. That is the least we can do to
contribute to seeing squash on TV in the Olympics in 2020.
11: Future career plans after playing squash?
Yes. At the moment I am working with Joey Barrington for a
London-based organisation called Spirit Of Squash. It is
an enrichment programme for young people and we are working with
between 40 and 60 kids in north and south London.
Personally, this has a very big place in my heart. They are the
next generation and we need to give more opportunities for kids
to play squash. We donít get paid. Joey and I give our own free
time to the project. Hopefully more schools will get involved
and we can grow the numbers.
I have a few other business proposals involving squash and
fitness and hopefully you will hear about these in the near
future. When I retire from playing I will always have some
involvement in squash. I have met a lot of great people and I
want to help where I can. I know what works and what doesnít.
Away from squash, music is a big passion. I have a new website
coming out in the summer. It will be something different. Squash
will be the main emphasis but there will be lots of other
exciting things as well.
from Kim Roberts