Charles rising to the Sharpes end

Wandsworth Guardian: Eyes on the ball: Charles Sharpes could not beat Davide Bianchetti at Wimbledon on Saturday. SP63621 Eyes on the ball: Charles Sharpes could not beat Davide Bianchetti at Wimbledon on Saturday. SP63621

Charles Sharpes may have failed to make the Canary Wharf Squash Classic for the second year in a row on Saturday, but it has been a pretty good 12 months for the Wimbledon Racquets club player, writes Graham Moody.

Last year, the 20-year-old won through the qualifiers at his home club and faced world number one James Willstrop at Canary Wharf – a big event in the squash calendar – where he lost but gained valuable experience.

Since then he has won three more senior titles to make it four in total and has risen to a career high 80 in the world.

Backed by home support again last weekend, he was beaten 12-10 11-4 11-9 by experienced Davide Bianchetti in this year’s Canary Wharf qualifiers but was happy with his performance having had game ball in the first game and been ahead in the third.

“It was disappointing but there were a lot of positives to take from it,” he said.

“Davide was in the top 30 a good number of years and still plays to a high level so I knew it was going to be difficult but I had my chances.

“Looking back on it, I wasn’t too far away and it’s just getting the experience to finish those situations off.

“It would have been amazing to go to Canary Wharf again but I have been in good form to date and I am going in the right direction.

“Last year, I was only just up from the juniors so I was learning and travelling a lot – it was completely different to the junior game.

“But I got my ranking up from being in the 400s to 140 and I have managed to win four senior tournaments, two last season and two this.

“I am enjoying my squash at the moment.”

Last season, Sharpes won the England U23 Open and the Hashim Khan Championship in America before adding the Nottingham Open and the Open du Gard to his collection this season.

Kingston-based Sharpes now has a hectic month ahead as he looks to add to that tally before the end of this season.

“There is not much more of this season left but from now until next month I am pretty busy,” he added.

“I’m off to Canada on Saturday for a 55k tournament, then back home for a week, then to America for two weeks, home for three days and then to Switzerland.

“Then there is a three-week gap before the British Open at the O2 Arena.

“I have to qualify for that at the qualifying tournament at St George’s Hill in Weybridge but it would be fantastic to play at the O2.”

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