Welsh wizardess wins first WSA title and is set to be a Rhyl star of the future
By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor
Welsh number one Tesni Evans collected her first WSA World Tour title last week, the Sharm El Sheikh Open. She beat four Egyptian players in a row, with the last three matches all five-setters, so she earned every penny of her prize money. She will be back in Egypt soon, aiming to add the Alexandria title to her CV. Alan Thatcher caught up with the 22-year-old when she returned home to Rhyl in North Wales.
SQUASH MAD INTERVIEW:
11 POINTS WITH TESNI EVANS
1: Tesni, many congratulations on your first WSA Tour victory in Egypt last weekend. Beating four Egyptians in a row was a massive accomplishment. Please tell us how it all went.
A: Thank you very much! Yeah was a great week for me, to beat four Egyptians in one tournament in Egypt is something that I didn’t think would happen, so I was very happy to have played good squash all week and win the event, especially with it being my first tour title!
2: What was the hotel and venue like in Sharm El Sheikh?
A: The hotel was amazing, we last minute moved hotels from the original venue, so it was a nice resort on the beach, with lots of pools and everything we needed in one place! The squash courts were newly built, a new centre and a glass court just up away from the courts in a big hall, with plenty of room for people to come in!
3: With an Egyptian opponent in every round, how was the crowd reaction?
A: The crowd was great, the people were always nice to us non Egyptians! There weren’t too many people watching until the semis and the final, and of course they were hoping the Egyptians were going to win, but I thought they were very fair!
4: You are gaining a reputation for enjoying your five-game battles. You had three in a row in the quarters, semi-final and final. Please share some secrets of your fitness work.
A: Yeah, there was no keeping fresh for the next match at all, haha! I would love to tell you that I have many secrets, but I don’t unfortunately! Although I have just started working with a new trainer in the last month or so, and with lots of areas to work on I am excited for that!
5: With former British Open champion David Evans as national coach, please tell us some of the main things you are working on to keep rising up the rankings.
A: Dave is great, I get to work with him during national squads and Europeans etc, he has given me a lot of pointers, but my coach is actually my dad Andrew Evans day to day. I am trying to work on taking the ball earlier, and also closing the court up a bit more, as well as working on my physicality.
6: What do you like to do after training? Are you careful about what you eat?
A: After training I like to be pretty relaxed, watch some TV shows or anything like that! Yeah I am always trying to be careful with what I eat, unfortunately I can’t get away with not, so I am always trying to eat as well as possible!
7: You kept Nicol David on court for nearly an hour during the British Open and took a game off the great Malaysian. What did you learn from that experience?
A: Yeah was a great experience for me, to be able to get on court with such a legend of the game is amazing, I can take a lot of stuff to learn from her! I learnt to be patient, as she picks up so many balls, and makes it so tough to win rallies. She has you moving around everywhere, you really have to wait for the opportunity and be positive!
8: Please tell us a little about the people who have helped you the most in squash, and any sponsors you may have.
A: One of the main people has to be my dad, he has helped me from the beginning, working on my game, teaching me things and developing my squash and I know I wouldn’t be where I am now, if I hadn’t had his input! Welsh Squash have always been so supportive of me, whether it has been Chris Robertson or David Evans now, who are the only two national coaches I have worked with, have always been great with me! I can’t thanks Sport Wales enough either, they have funded me from the beginning too. There is no way I could do this without their help, and also to Karakal and Ashaway who are my sponsors. They are great too and always easy to deal with!
9: Last summer you were planning for the Commonwealth Games. What are your favourite memories of Glasgow 2014?
A: Glasgow was amazing, something I wish had never ended, I was looking forward to the event, and it lived right up to the expectations! I have a few favourite memories from it, being with all the other athletes and seeing them walking around was very strange, but amazing!
Loved playing on the glass court, with all the people watching, when me and Creedy played vs the English pairing, that had to be a highlight! And of course, can’t not mention the 24-hour food hall!
10: What are your plans for this summer?
A: I have one more tournament left next week, back in Egypt for the Alexandria Open and then I have a holiday to Greece for two weeks at the end of June, and then all the hard work starts again, putting in a lot of work ready for the season to start again!
11: What’s your favourite night out in Wales?
A: I live in a small place, with let’s just say an eventful night out locally, so I am going to say a good night out in Cardiff is hard to beat, with a stop at the Casino at some point too!
Thanks Tesni. Keep up the hard work and we look forward to reporting on more successes in the near future. Good luck from all the Squash Mad team.
Pictures courtesy of WSA, England Squash, Wales Squash and Steve Cubbins (britishopensquash.com)