Millie Tomlinson (Eng) 2-0 Milou van der Heijden (Ned) 11-6, 11-6 (28m)
 James Willstrop (Eng) 2-0 Chris Simpson (Eng) 11-6, 11-6 (28m)
James never expects much from his first event, from his first round. “I always expect the worst, so when it does happen, I’m ready”, he smiled when I asked him about his bad start, 4/0 – or Chris’ great start by the way. “I live it a million times, after summer training, you don’t know what to expect, and if you expect some great squash, you are often disapointed….”
So James didn’t panic. Chris, superb of discipline and accuracy, as ever, was playing his top squash I thought. And it took James a lot of running and court coverage to take the crucial opener 11/6.
The second is different, not a point between them up to 6/6, with the crowd enjoying the superb lengthy and crafty rallies offered by those two Gentlemen Gladiators. But as often, from the middle of the Game, the court is suddenly very big for the “lower ranked” opponent, and it’s 11/6 rather quickly. H2H was 9/0 for James. Let’s make that a round 10, shall we. And that, with no fault of Chris, who like I said, played superb and clever squash today, again, nothing new there…
The only thing you think of doing, is trying to apply on court what you practised in training. The first event of the season is really a mental test, it’s all down to experience at the start of the new season. I always expect the worst, so when it does happen, I’m ready. I live it a million times, after summer training, you don’t know what to expect, and if you expect some great squash, you are often disappointed.
So at 4/0 down, I told myself, the rallies are good, I’ll just keep battling on, and it did.
At 6/6 in the second, I’m not sure I did anything specific. It’s more about buckling yourself up, or knuckling yourself up, not sure what’s the correct phrase there. In my opinion, it could have gone either way, it’s really fine lines, we’ve played a lot last year, and it could have gone his way at that point.
So I just stuck to what I was doing, making him work in different areas of the court, and thankfully, it worked…
I was a bit nervous because it was my first match of the season. I know Milou has improved as well, she has shortened her swing and she looks a bit faster and stronger, so she has obviously worked hard over the summer.
“I have not seen the glass court yet, but from the photographs they have put up it looks amazing, so it will be a really cool opportunity.