Walton pair ready to take on the squad world
6:00am Saturday 26th October 2013 in Sport
Rising squash star Joe Lee is out to make his mark at next week’s World Championship after setting high targets over the next 12 months, writes Rod Gilmour.
The Walton 24-year-old plays India’s Saurav Ghosal in the first round in Manchester on Monday, a year on from his career-high performance at the World Championships in Qatar last November.
And the world number 34, who trains with compatriot Tom Richards at St Georges Hill in Weybridge, believes he is in a position to threaten the world rankings further.
“That was definitely my best performance of last season, winning 3-0 against Aamir Atlas,” said Lee of his opening round win in the Middle East.
“It produced a dream come true to play Egypt’s great Amr Shabana in the next round. Everyone who was watching the match said I caught him on a good day. He definitely taught me a lesson, but I really enjoyed the whole experience.
“I have goals this season of beating some of the top 20 players and this is a great chance for me, playing the guys in the next pool ahead of me in the rankings.”
Lee is one of a host of England players in the main draw in Manchester hoping to succeed the likes of multiple tour winners Nick Matthew and James Willstrop when they retire.
“There has been a bit of concern the younger players haven’t come through in recent years,” said Lee.
“I think we have now got a really good group of players coming up.
“I know I have to watch out, which is a good thing.”
Richards wants to get back to winning ways after a four-month hamstring injury hell left him having to learn to walk again.
The 27-year-old faces compatriot Ben Coleman in Manchester on Monday, hoping to earn a potential second round clash with former world number one James Willstrop.
“I need to re-establish myself in the big tournaments and get wins under my belt, but I’m more worried about finding the form I had before the injury,” he said.
“Recovering was a draining process, especially learning how to use all my muscles.”