The WISPA Tour

What me ... write ???

Sitting comfortably minding my own business in the Crucible arena at the English Open a couple of months ago, the charming Framboise approached me with the words "miss me?" (referring to the time spent since the European Championships).

Before I could answer I was informed that I was required to write an article for the Squash Player website ... I contemplated my answer to the original question!

The subject matter was fairly vague so I am not sure what is to be expected but here goes...

Jenny Duncalf

Jenny Duncalf is one of the most exciting prospects in English and World squash.

National junior champion at every age level including two under-23 titles, European Junior Champion in 2001, Commonwealth Youth Gold Medallist, and she already has a WISPA title under her belt.

She made her debut for the Senior National team in the European Team Championships in Rennes 2004, played in the Women's World Team Championships in Amsterdam, and is moving steadily towards the world's top ten.

The WISPA Tour

Life began for me on tour at the beginning of 2002.

I had played my last World Juniors the summer before and was now ready, or so I thought, for whatever the senior tour had in store for me. So off I toddled to my first WISPA tournament out in the States.

Due to the lack of English players involved in the small  event in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, I was, much to my dismay, forced to travel alone. This, to me, was bad for two reasons ... firstly, I am not a big fan of flying, and secondly, arguably more importantly, I had no one to make up for my lack of organisational skills or to keep an eye on whatever irresponsible action I may be taking at the time.

This was not to be my downfall I said to myself, as it had been on many a junior trip in the past. Things were going to change.

Some things never change!

So there I was ... an independent, responsible, nineteen year old stepping on the plane, and into her now full time professional world. The idea was to be short lived. The plane landed and as I reached the well-renowned strict US immigration I suddenly realised that this confident, independent, young professional was missing one vital possession ... her passport. I had left it on the plane.

Two and a half years on and I have to say things in that department haven't changed a lot. Only last week I managed to leave behind my credit card and camera in Amsterdam at the World Teams, but that's just me. Maybe one day, without encountering any such hiccups along the way, I will become accustomed to this way of life in which you live out of a squash bag, travelling from country to country, hotel to hotel.

The Jet Set

As I write this I am on board flight CO 21Y headed for New York City to play in the Weymuller US Open. In the past two and a half months I have travelled to Brunei, Mexico, Bahrain and Holland ... quite the jet setter!

The first three locations held their maiden WISPA tournaments, showing not only the geographical diversity of the tour but also the result and consequence of a lot of hard work put in by our director Andrew Shelley, without whom it is unlikely we would have such a thriving entity.

Old and New friends

As well as being able to visit and participate in numerous countries across the globe, largely due to Lottery funding I must add, which I am extremely grateful for, and obviously WISPA who create the tour, I have met many people and made great friends, some of whom I have grown up with through the junior ranks, but also those who I have met, and become more acquainted with since joining the senior tour.

You tend to see the same players at most tournaments, especially the big events, so everyone gets to know each other and from what I have experienced in my short career so far, I am pleased to say everybody gets along well, although it is inevitable that the odd dispute crops up now and again, but hey, without that it would be boring!

As I'm about to touch down on American soil and embark on another WISPA experience, I look forward to what I hope will be a good few years on the WISPA tour.

I recommend it to any aspiring junior.