New Delhi: Joshna Chinappa has no plans to rest on her laurels after a memorable year on the professional squash tour where she shocked the world number one before becoming India's highest-ranked player.
Joshna Chinappa. Pic/AFP
Enough has been written about her career-threatening knee injury in 2011 but till this day, she can't help thinking about those testing times. The world number 13 says that phase turned out be a landmark in her decade-old professional career. "I can never forget those days to be honest. I didn't know whether I would be holding the racquet again even after I had my knee operated. Now looking back, I feel I learnt so much from that phase. I am fitter than ever and spend more time in the gym than anywhere else," Joshna told PTI.
So what was about this season that brought out the best in her? "Well they (the results) are coming not just because I worked hard only this season. It has a lot do with my routine over the past three-four years, ever since I returned from injury. I look after myself a lot better than I used to," she says reflecting on a successful year with the highlight being the 37-minute win over world number one Raneem El Welily in Qatar Classic, a PSA World Series event. Did she expect to outplay the mighty Egyptian?
"To be honest, I was playing well in the run up to that match. I knew I had a chance. When you playing against the likes of Raneem, there are no freebies and you have to work to earn every point. The match was all about who cracked first and it was she on that day. Surely one of the best moments of my career," recollects the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist in women's doubles. Another high point for her was reaching the semifinals of the Carol Weymuller Open in New York.
With the season-ending World Open postponed indefinitely, the Chennai-based player is in no mood to rest. She likes to believe that her best is yet to come. "Obviously the aim is to get better, break into the top 10 and then top five. I don't want to think that I am at the peak of my game. I am 29 and as squash history points out, a lot of players peak post 30. So I am going to keep doing what I am doing, work hard and train hard for the upcoming season."
As a regular on the pro tour, one is living out of a suitcase and the solo travel can make one feel lonely. Ask about her thoughts on getting married, considering her longtime friend and teammate Dipika Pallikal too has tied the knot, Joshna says she has no time for love. "It does get lonely on the tour and that is why it is always great to have Dipika and Saurav (Ghosal) during tournaments. As far as getting married is concerned, I don't have much to say. I might sound selfish but I want to be the best player I can be. All others things can wait," she signs off.