Having helped the Welsh team clinch fourth place in the European Team Championships last week, world number 92 Emyr Evans runs through his game with Squash Site’s Doug Woodburn…
Hi Emyr. How would you sum up your playing style?
Passionate, highly competitive, flair with an absence of skill.
What’s your career high so far?
The Commonwealth Games against Paul Coll was special (see below) – one of best feelings and atmospheres.
Tell us one thing most people in the squash world won’t know about you…
Away from a squash court, I love nothing more than putting on my dressing gown and grandad slippers.
The removal of the divisor in September 2020 has met a mixed reception among players in your ranking bracket. What are your thoughts on it?
“The opportunity to move up [the rankings] has become a lot more restricted. It baffles me that the World Championships isn’t a 128 main draw”
It hasn’t been great at all. It should’ve been brought back a while ago. But I also believe if it’s back it needs to be the amount of tournaments with it. The opportunity to move up in the bracket from the bottom end of the World Series (60) to about 100 has become a lot more restricted. It baffles me that the World Championships isn’t a 128 main draw. If you’re outside the top 60 you aren’t guaranteed to be in it. I think for one event a year that could be made possible.
Who do you see as the most skilful player on the tour today?
Diego Elias in the men – I could watch him play squash all day. I mean, I put Tez [Tesni Evans] up there for sure but other than my sister it would have to be Nour El Sherbini.
What’s the best thing about having a famous squash-playing sibling?
Having each other on your side. Having a sibling on the tour means you are able to practice with each other and push each other on.
What would you be doing for a job or career if you weren’t playing squash?
I would love to still stay involved with squash in some way… but looking after dogs all day would appeal to me.
Name one thing governing bodies or referees could do to improve squash for viewers?
After matches, it would be great to have more insight on what referees thought in a post-match interview. I think there needs to be more freedom with that, and with the players: we should be able to give more opinions about what we think without being punished for what we said. And in the video reviews could [the referee give] an explanation for the decision etc?
What is your favourite squash drill?
2 deep, 1 short.
“I always have to put my left shoe on first before my right. I can’t shave during an event”
Do you have any superstitions or quirky pre-game routines?
I always have to put my left shoe on first before my right. I can’t shave during an event. And I always go to the toilet at the very last second before going on (sometimes meaning that the opponent is waiting for me).
Do you have any close friendships on the tour?
I’ve been fortunate to make a lot of friends on the way for sure: Miles Jenkins, Charlie Lee, Patrick Rooney, Joel Makin.
What’s your favourite venue to play in?
The Commonwealth Games (along with any crowd that has a football atmosphere).
Which fellow pro do you enjoy playing the most, and why?
I really enjoyed playing James Willstrop a few times – although having been on the back end of rallies, I really have to admire how good and accurate a game he plays.
What is your favourite shot?
It has to be backhand drive winner: the hardest shot in the book.
What area of your game would you most like to improve?
Movement is something I’m always trying to make better and work on.
What’s your top tip for squash beginners?
Don’t give up; no matter how long it takes you’ll get there. Don’t worry about time or age as that means nothing.
“Moving up the rankings requires constant consistency of getting to later stages of events whatever size.”
You’ve risen sharply up the rankings recently, winning your first event in February. Do you have any aspirations for 2023 when it comes to your game or particular events?
It was a nice feeling getting that first win under my belt. It would be good again to get another title somewhere and climb up the rankings a little bit. My aim is to get more consistent when having good weeks: moving up the rankings requires constant consistency of getting to later stages of events whatever size.