The University of Johannesburg squash team are gearing up for a tough challenge when they defend their title in the University Sport South Africa tournament in Port Elizabeth in July.
The Gauteng varsity have won the team title six years in a row and while the pressure mounts, third-year student Kyle Maree said they were working hard in preparation.
Although they have most of last year’s squad available, he said they realised there would be some tough challenges ahead.
“But we will just be focused on producing our best and hopefully that will be enough to get us over the line.”
Maree felt their preparations for the tournament from July 2 to 6 would reduce the pressure.
“Everyone has been really supportive and proud of what we have achieved. Winning again will be a bonus.”
The UJ star, who was named the university’s student-athlete of the year in 2016 for his sporting and academic achievements, felt they would have few problems adapting to the coastal conditions.
“Many of us have played a few tournaments down at the coast and know what to expect. The ball is slower and almost sits in the air, making volleys easier to play.
“The main adjustment would be the timing on our shots as well as the feel of the lobs and drops.”
He is expecting tough competition from their opponents, not counting out any teams.
“All of the teams should be at a decent level of play and I don’t think there will be many easy matches.”