Inspired Kippax seeks maiden spot in British Nationals semi-final
World number 24 Sarah Kippax returns to her old stomping ground at the British National Championships this week, as she bids to progress past the quarter-final stage for the first time in her career.
Kippax and the National Championships go back a long way – 17 years to be precise – and was an inspirational factor in the England number six turning professional.
“It’s the event I grew up watching,” recalled the 5/8 seed from Cheshire. “In fact, I was a court attendant at the age of 13, there to clean the white ball and mop up the sweat between games. I loved it because it meant that I had the best seat in the house!
“I remember being mesmerised. It allowed me to watch and learn, and left me completely inspired and determined that one day I would compete on the same stage.
“So, as you can tell, it’s a big deal to me and very special for a number of reasons. As we are such a dominant nation in the world of squash past and present, the British National Championship is an extremely prestigious title.”
The nine-time WSA Tour tournament winner, who has reached every quarter final stage in the last six years, opens her campaign against Deon Saffery on Thursday.
An encounter with world number nine and her 2013 conqueror Jenny Duncalf beckons in the quarter-finals, but the 30-year-old remains cautious about looking too far ahead.
“I am not one to study the draw in great detail, but I know I have Deon in the first round,” said the Halifax-based player. “She is a skilful player, whom I haven’t played for years, so I’m looking forward to the match.
“I always aim to take one match at a time, as you can’t afford to get ahead of yourself. My focus will be to perform to the best of my ability on the day and the results will take care of themselves.
“However, it would be nice to get past the quarters for the first time. I had a few injury niggles at the end of 2013, so since Christmas I’ve altered the balance of my training
“Now I feel good physically, happy with the way I’m playing and excited to compete in the Nationals so close to home.”
Picture by Michael Catling