Ben looks forward to Canary Wharf wild card shoot-out in front of a big crowd at London’s top venue
By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor
Ben Coleman approaches the Canary Wharf Classic with twin targets in mind. First of all, he wants to work his way through a tough qualifying competition at Wimbledon Rackets and Fitness Club, and then win a special shoot-out with Lyell Fuller to win the Wild Card into the 2016 main draw. First of all, though, he and Lyell will be joining the Wimbledon team party tomorrow night (after their match against local rivals Lakeside) as they celebrate winning the Surrey Cup.
COUNTDOWN TO CANARY WHARF CLASSIC 2015:
11 POINTS WITH BEN COLEMAN
1: Ben, qualifying for major events can be brutal. What’s been your toughest qualifying event so far?
A: Qualifying for big events can be tough because to start with you usually get drawn against a top seeded player if you make it through. Great challenge, though, because these are the matches you need to overcome to make the step up to the next level. I think the last two years at the Canary Wharf qualifying I’ve been drawn against Adrian Waller in the first round and not had much luck, so I’m glad he’s straight in the main draw this year!!
2: What are the main benefits of gaining a Wild Card straight into the Main Draw?
A: Main benefits are the good ranking points, not having to try and get through a tough qualifying draw and of course, you get to play in front of such a fantastic crowd.
3: How difficult is it for players to make the transition from a plaster court in qualifying to the all-glass show court?
A: It’s tough because it is completely different. The ball movement, the feeling, it is also something you need to adjust to. It’s where we all want to be in the future, though, so you have to get used to it.
4: How much are you looking forward to playing in front of a big crowd at one of the great international squash venues?
A: Can’t wait! Hopefully I can make it through qualifying and play in the main draw there anyway, but it will be great. Something I’ve wanted to make sure I do! It’s a special place and quite close to my home.
5: You beat Lyell 3-0 in the BSPA Croydon final in December. Please talk us through that match.
A: Lyell had a fantastic run to get through to the final. He’s quickly improving but I managed to stay ahead of him throughout that match and I was playing well. I never gave him many chances, which was nice.
6: What changes do you expect Lyell to come out with at the East Wintergarden?
A: I expect him to try and dictate the game against me from in front. Hopefully that won’t be possible for him and I can play my game.
7: You have enjoyed some excellent form in recent months. What do you put that down to?
A: This past year, 18 months has been a big step forward for me. I’ve learnt a lot and become a much better professional. I feel in a good place right now with good people around me and just want to show that in my tournaments now.
8: Those results must boost your confidence enormously. Are you seeing life differently from, say, a year ago, with regard to your career ambitions?
A: Definitely. I have ambitions to be the best and if I didn’t then I wouldn’t be playing this sport as my profession. I’m very happy and just want to give the sport my all in these next few years in order to reach my full potential hopefully.
9: Talk us through your training programme. Who is your main coach and who are your main training partners?
A: My main coach is Paul Carter but for the past two years I have been seeing Lee Drew as well, which has been great. Ed Baker is my strength and conditioning coach in Hatfield. Along with these, the rest of the England Squash coaching team help a lot with my development. Main training partners would be Adrian Waller, Charles Sharpes and Daryl Selby probably. I get on court a bit with Pete Barker as well, which is great for me.
10: Who are your main sponsors?
A: Tecnifibre are my main racket/ bag sponsor and have been for quite a few years now. I am also sponsored by Salming for kit which is great. Karakal support me by supplying grips and I’m also sponsored by a brand called ‘Push’ for energy gels.
11: What are your targets for the remainder of 2015?
A: My targets are to continue pushing up the ranking towards the top 50. Progressing my game and competing/beating those players in the top 30/40/50 in the world.
Pictures courtesy of STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) and Canary Wharf Classic