Scotland’s No.1 squash player Alan Clyne is determined to retain his Edinburgh Sports Club Open title in his adopted home city this weekend.
Clyne left Inverness to study at Edinburgh University and stayed on in the Capital, where he trains at the Heriot-Watt campus. “I’ve been here for a while now,” said the 30-year-old, who opens his title defence against a qualifier on Friday.
“It was a really good win for me last year. I played really well to beat [five-time champion] Daryl Selby in the semis, then Tom Richards in the final. Those were two of the biggest wins I’ve had, but Selby will definitely be the favourite this weekend. He’s the top seed and he’s been playing some good squash recently.”
Following a spell in New York at the Tournament of Champions, Clyne arrived in Edinburgh by train on Wednesday afternoon after playing for Leicester against Nottingham in the Premier Squash League on Tuesday night. The world No.34 was soon practising with Edinburgh’s own Doug Kempsell, now fully fit again after injuring his foot at a tournament in France earlier this month. Kempsell plays Yorkshire’s Tom Bamford in round one, while newly-crowned British Under-23 Open champion Rory Stewart, also based in Edinburgh, takes on Essex teenager Aaron Allpress.
German Sina Wall is seeded to meet Surrey’s Alison Thomson in Sunday’s ladies’ final, but it will be fascinating to see how former Scottish No.1 Lisa Aitken fares on her return from long-term injury. The wild card entry could face Wall in the quarter-finals if she can get past Swiss eighth seed Marija Shpakova first.
For local youngsters Georgia Adderley, Carrie Hallam, Claire Gadsby and Elspeth Young, the initial goal is to come through qualifying today, when four places in the main draw will be up for grabs.