In the latest feature on ‘The Show Court’, Alix Williams talks to Canada’s Danielle Letourneau, who recently made the move from Calgary to Cairo …
Alix explains :
I consider Danielle one of the most exciting players on the Tour right now, and her move to Egypt reminded me of something that Hisham Ashour said when I interviewed him – that squash players need to raise themselves up.
After talking to Danielle, I feel like she’s doing exactly that. Her move to Egypt, the decision to work with coach Karim Aly Fathi and the shift in training focus is the perfect example.
Our interview was fast – the whole call was under 20 minutes, but that Danielle was able to articulate so much in such a short period of time shows me how focused she is on her training.
In Calgary, Danielle is surrounded by a huge support system. She comes from a great squash family, (her brother David Letourneau, plays professional doubles) as well as friends, coaches, trainers and sponsors like Gearbox Sports, Teuton and Racquet Central. The squash community in Calgary is well vested in Danielle’s success.
In Cairo, Danielle is surrounded by a different support system, a group of highly competitive athletes, who train with the same level intensity and focus that she does. Their drive to improve fuels Danielle’s drive to improve. There is always someone at the courts who can give her a great match.
I knew something was missing a little bit, on how I was executing it. I felt like I needed a change.
I want to be able to have a really strong game that plays to my strengths, that can hold up even on my worst days or against an opponent who is playing well.
The focus is to have consistency but also have a variety of game plans that I can rely on against different opponents.
The hope is that, if someone is going to beat me, they will have to earn it.
It’s a hard risk, but the reward, what it’s worth, is huge.
Training in Egypt during COVID-19 sounds similar to anywhere else. You have to be conscious of other people, sanitize, and masks are mandatory. You can be on court without a mask, so
Danielle has wisely chosen a specific circle of players to train with every night, mitigating her risk. She’s at different clubs on most days, so her potential exposure level is high. Taking the necessary precautions and going the extra mile to sanitize is critical.
Danielle doesn’t have a moment to lose if she wants to crack the Top 10.