Surrey star Joe chills out away from court with a keyboard and a guitar
Interview by JOEL DURSTON – Squash Mad London Reporter
Life on the pro squash tour can be a solitary and draining experience, so many players will have their own little worlds to retreat into as they try to take their minds off the trials and tribulations of the game.
For many it’s football and other sports (nearly all of them in Nick Matthew’s case), some older players – including Daryl Selby, James Willstrop, Peter Barker and Ong Beng Hee – have newborns taking up most time not on court, and many like to unwind with music.
Probably none more so than Joe Lee, the new world No.30 based at the prestigious St George’s Hill club in Surrey, who has some musical ambitions for when he hangs up his racket.
“I make music on my laptop at home and when I’m on tour. I’m mainly into house and techno music at the moment, but I also play guitar a bit,” he said.
“It’s a good way to take my mind away from squash whilst still being productive. It is a completely different world to competitive sport, so it’s a good way to escape and refresh your mind.
“It’s definitely something I’d like to be involved in after squash.”
But that time seems a long way off, judging by the way the 24-year-old is climbing up the rankings. He is pictured here after winning the recent Oregon Open and last week reached the semi-finals of the $25,000 Ontario Open, beating Steve Finitsis of Australia and Surrey neighbour Tom Richards before falling to South African Steve Coppinger in the last four.
Lee has climbed seven places in the world rankings this year – and 26 in just over a year and half – to give himself a career-high rank of 30, and he plans to climb even higher this year.
He said: “My season has gone very well so far and I’m pleased to be in the top 30 for the first time.
“My short-term goal is to perform well at the British Open next month, and for the rest of the year, I am looking to beat some more of the players ranked above me and push towards the top 24.”
And this aim will likely see him share the court with some players he shares his passion for music with.
“There are a few players with similar taste to me, like Charles Sharpes, Adrian Grant [World No.23] and Tom Richards [no.27],” he said.
“And there are a few guitarists on the PSA. I have chatted to LJ [Anjema, No.16] before about songwriting, which I’m sure he’d be good at.
“I have also chatted to Shawn Delierre about his guitar playing, and I would love to hear his music. I would expect it to be extremely psychedelic!”
Joe’s love for music would appear to be hereditary, as his father Danny (below) is lead singer in his own band.