Several weeks ago the 2010 Canadian National Squash Championships were held in the beautiful setting of Vancouver at the Jericho Tennis Club. Jonathon Power had signed up, which brought about some excitement, to see if he could bring another title home despite being a “retired” PSA player (World Number 1). The #1 seed, Shahier Razik, had won three of the past four National Titles and despite Jonathon’s impressive resume; Shahier new that his game could push Power to the edge….
To get more details on the finals and other tournament details (Men’s & Women’s) go to the Squash Canada website: http://www.squash.ca/e/story_detail.cfm?id=2802
Today I am going to discuss a few of my thoughts on the Men’s semi-final match between 2nd seed Jonathon Power and 3rd seed Shawn Delierre.
To me this was the match of the tournament to watch on the Men’s side of the draw. Could Shawn Delierre bring a game, physically and mentally, that would upset the 2nd seed? Did Shawn have Faith, real faith (almost blind faith), to beat the former world number 1 for the first time in his career?
Jonathon was looking like the man of past, hitting immaculate length and applying deadly attacking shots at opportune times. Mr. Delierre seemed up to the task absorbing a lot of the Power pressure, but then something began to happen… the mental part of the game was coming to surface. Mr. Power was not clearing very well from his frontcourt drop shots and Mr. Delierre was frequently banging into him while asking for lets. To the amateur squash player (or overzealous patrons supporting the beverage sponsor) it seemed that Shawn should be going around Jonathon to retrieve the drop shots. After one fairly physical contact Mr. Power suggested to the referee (& crowd) that Mr. Delierre should do just that, go around him. However, to the professional eye, or more seasoned squash players’ eye, it was Jonathon who should have been clearing more so that his opponent could have direct access to the ball.
Question: Was Mr. Delierre willing to keep calling lets while listening to Jonathon’s discussions with the referee, or was he going to break mentally and begin believing that it was his responsibility to make more effort to go around Mr. Power?
The answer was given to me in a post match social discussion I had with Mr. Delierre, where he asked me if he should have been making more effort to go around Jonathon.
I think if Mr. Delierre had been deaf to Mr. Power’s pleas to the referee and to the crowd’s supporting moans of agreement he may have found a winning game. Winning Ugly (check out Brad Gilbert’s tennis book of this title!).
So, Shawn did make more effort to run around Jonathon and this took a physical toll on him.
Question: What was Jonathon thinking when Shawn began running around him more, and calling less lets?
Thank you very much! Game and match, three games to none.
I was in squash heaven watching this match, seeing (and hearing) all the physical and mental dilemma’s occurring (I’m sure I missed lots too) and being entertained to the max. Mr. Delierre hit several cross-court nicks that looked Egyptian in nature, fantastic dead rollers, and his lobs defied gravity lightly dusting the Jericho ceiling. And, of course, Mr. Power’s uncanny ability to read the game, to seem balanced at all times, to hit any shot at any time, and to win despite not being in “his” top physical form – well done JP.
I believe that Mr. Power was able to turn a lemon into lemonade in this match by taking the focus away from his rather poor clearing (fitness issue?), by getting inside his opponents head (oh yes, and the referee and spectators heads).
Learning situation: whether on court or off court, always do what you think is right and stick to your game plan. If that fails, I suggest a silent prayer for assistance… GAME ON!