Cheltenham player teams up with top coach Robert Owen after claiming he’s turned his back on England set-up
By Squash Mad Reporter
PROFESSIONAL squash player Nathan Lake remains fiercely ambitious despite a tough few months that have seen him “move away” from England Squash.
The Cheltenham star dropped out of the elite national system at the start of the campaign after failing to reach his ranking and performance targets last season and as a result his funding from the sport’s central body was cut.
It meant that Lake had to pay for all flights to international tournaments himself although a place training with the national squad in Manchester was still available.
However, the former Bournside pupil decided not to take up the Manchester option and instead linked up with coach Rob Owen in Birmingham.
Lake explained: “I was getting injured a lot with the national squad and didn’t feel I was being taught the right things.
“I didn’t expect special treatment but sometimes the system struggles to meet individual needs. It wasn’t working for me and I wasn’t enjoying my squash.
“The system is brilliant, but sometimes it is a burden to be a funded athlete. There is a lot of pressure to meet targets and there is a lot of expectation on you.
“I am only 21 and I might not be any good, I might not make it. And you know in the system there will always be a 20-year-old kid coming up to take your place.
“But being injured was a nightmare and this year I have been able to be more independent.
“I’ve made it about me and my coaches Rob and strength and conditioning coach Tommy Rutter are fully invested in me.
“I am in a more positive environment for me now and the aim to be the best I can be and represent England remains the same.”
Lake has now come to the end of a frustrating season, which saw him suffer from back and wrist injuries and miss several key tournaments including the World Championships and the British National Championships.
But he ended the season in a better frame of mind, reaching the quarter-finals of the $10,000 Norwegian Open in Oslo, after beating the world number 50 Steve Finitsis in the first round 3-0.
A 3-0 defeat to world number 69 Lucas Serme in the quarters was a blow, but the promising result in Norway and recent tournaments in South Africa and Switzerland have seen the East Glos member climb back up to 109th in the world, after dropping from 98th to 112th.
Lake funds his travels on the professional circuit with a part-time coaching role, but is currently looking for a sponsor.
If you would like to sponsor Lake, contact him on 07917 116012 or [email protected]
Meanwhile, fellow Cheltenham professional Tom Ford has climbed from 102nd to 97th in the world, breaking into the top 100 for the first time.
His next outing is in the Select Gaming Kent Open at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone next week.
Source: Gloucestershire Echo