Joshna Chinappa. (Twitter Photo)
At 35, most players are either past their peak or face challenges to stay hungry. But that’s definitely not the case with Joshna Chinappa who continues to go stronger despite being on the international squash circuit for over two decades.
Joshna had an eventful start to the year as she returned to the top-10 in world rankings last week after a gap of over five years. “It’s obviously great to be back in the top-10. But the goal is to keep improving on it and go higher,” the world no. 10 told TOI.
With the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and Hangzhou Asian Games scheduled later this year, Joshna is understandably keen to stay in the best possible shape.
“Both the CWG and Asian Games are important events. The key for me will be to pick and choose tournaments this year. You not only need those ranking points to maintain your ranking but must also stay fresh,” pointed out Joshna.
Joshna will be in action at the upcoming Cleveland Classic in the United States to be held from January 27 to 31. “I will be featuring in a few tournaments in the US to start off the new season,” Joshna stated. Joshna is seeded fourth in the tournament and has a bye in the first round. She is scheduled to take on the winner of Georgina Kennedy and Emilia Soini in Round 2.
Given her current form and fitness, Joshna plans to continue playing for the next two years. “The trick is to take it one tournament at a time and see how it goes. But yes, I do aim to be playing for a couple of more seasons,” she said.
Joshna, who majorly trains in Egypt and England, feels the Covid-19 pandemic has made most players mentally stronger. “It has affected everyone in the world. This phase has made me appreciate the simple things in life even more. Be it schedules or tournaments --- everything has gone haywire in the last two years. One has to be prepared for events to be canceled at the 11th hour if anyone is infected. Not just physically, even mentally --- players have to be prepared,” Joshna mentioned.
Has she planned on what she intends to do once she calls it quits? “I haven’t really thought about that. However, one thing is clear --- it will involve helping kids take up the sport,” she said.