By Sam France
Defending champion Tesni Evans will be striving to defend her crown when the AJ Bell British National Squash Championships gets under way from 14-17 February in Nottingham.
A record-breaking 2018 saw Evans become the first Welsh player to win the Nationals and the first to break into the top ten PSA world rankings.
With three English players currently above her in the rankings, she knows it won’t be an easy feat, but thrives on the expectation of her country.
“I’m a very proud Welsh woman and to be able to compete not only for myself but to compete for my country as well is also really important.
“It was always a big goal when I first started playing to make the top ten, and to reach it last year was amazing.
“I feel like my form is pretty good going into this year really.”
Going into the tournament as defending champion will be a new experience for the 26-year-old but it is one she is looking forward to, and she makes no attempt to play down the importance of the Nationals.
“It’s always been a prestigious event to win and it’s always going to be right at the top for me, to try and do as best as I can every year I play it.
“It would be pretty fantastic to win a second title, to be fair.
“Last year was amazing to win it, and it has been so good to be able to hold that title for the year.
“To do it again this year would be pretty special and have two to my name.”
With the likes of Sarah-Jane Perry, Laura Massaro, and Alison Waters joining Evans as the top four seeds in Nottingham, she believes it is an open field with ‘six or seven girls’ going in with a real chance of winning.
“So as well as that little bit more pressure from winning it last year, I think the other girls will be fighting hard to get it as well.
“I think it’s going to be a pretty tough week.”