Defending champion Alexa Pienaar will be chasing a second individual title when the University Sport South Africa squash tournament takes place in Port Elizabeth next month.
The University of Johannesburg visual arts student won the title for the first time last year after being the 2016 runner-up and is keen to maintain her proud record at the event.
“It is kind of expected of me to do well again,” said Pienaar. “I am aiming to look past the pressures and just play how I know I can.
“I understand the real test will come on the court and I hope it will be enough for me to potentially make the USSA team again, as well as bringing home the individual title.”
She added the competition would be tough as a USSA team to compete in the World University Championships in Birmingham, England, in September will be selected later in the year.
Pienaar, who won the Prince Grand Prix at Parkview in Johannesburg and North West Closed tournaments in March, said she had included more solo sessions in her programme this year “as it builds the basis of skills training and helps with confidence in your shots”.
“I am also trying to include a more aggressive game-plan, getting onto the ball quicker and applying more pressure.”
Besides her individual objectives, the UJ team will be looking to win the overall title for the seventh straight year. She was confident they would do well again.
“Everyone in the team has improved from last year and we are stronger than ever,” said Pienaar.
She said they realised that playing at the coast compared to the highveld altitude could make a difference.
“The ball moves a little slower and bounces less, but we are planning to have one or two training sessions before starting our matches.
“We all have experience in this as well, so we know more or less what to expect.”