James Willstrop - Aubrey Waddy, courtesy Jordan Mansfield
March 22, 2012 -
James Willstrop was featured on the BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ news programme
this morning. After his five-game win yesterday evening against Tarek
Momen in the Canary Wharf Classic Tournament at the East Wintergarden,
James conceded that the early morning appearance wasn’t easy.
In his interview with Jonathan Legard he admitted, “Yes, bleary eyed is
probably a good description, a bit aching,” but claimed he would be
fine later in the day for his semi-final against Mohamed el Shorbagy.
James was challenged with the big questions about UK and world squash
and about his relationship with his father and his rivalry with Nick
Why, he was asked, was squash nationally under the radar when Britain
has two of the world’s top three players in both the men’s and women’s
games and the most courts in the world?
James said that in spite of the great number of players, the interest
in the professional game was lacking. “We’ve got a great TV product,
which is starting to happen, and give us some real momentum. We’re
trying to get back to those boom days… of Jonah Barrington.”
On Malcolm Willstrop, Legard asked, “Can you imagine Andy Murray being
coached by his mother?” James said that usually parents don’t know what
they’re trying to teach, but his father does, he’s an expert. “I have a
lot of respect… It’s not difficult, no… He’s a disciplinarian, I’ve
learned to work to his ways and it’s helped me. An awful lot.” The last
three words said with great emphasis.
Questioned about his rivalry with Nick Matthew, James was fair and
analytical. He conceded that Nick had been world number one for the
previous year. “Yeah, it’s a big rivalry. We’re both from Yorkshire. A
lot is made of it. It’s very competitive. He’s got the upper hand at
the moment in the last matches, so I’ve got to respond.”
Finally, the Olympics question. Here James’ passion came through. “It
would be very key. We would consider it the pinnacle of our game.
(We’re) extremely disappointed… we’re trying very very hard … we’re
gutted, obviously (the Olympics) being in London this year and
(Britain) being so strong in the game and it’s deeply saddening for us
it’s not got in there…we’ll keep trying, we’ve got a great sport and
we’re confident it can really add to the Olympic programme.”
Jonathan finished with a great plug for James’ book, “…I can recommend
A Shot and a Ghost, a personal memoire as well. A year in the brutal
world of professional squash. Ouch!”