Meet the Player: Satomi Watanabe – Control the ‘T’ Sports

A Chat With Japanese Squash Sensation, Satomi Watanabe, by Alex Robertson

Control the ‘T’ Sports


Japan’s Satomi Watanabe recently made a huge splash on the PSA World Tour by winning the 2024 Optasia Championships at The Wimbledon Club in London.

What made this win even more incredible was that Watanabe overcame World No.4, Nele Gilis, in the final without dropping a single game. Considering Watanabe had never beaten Gilis before, despite facing her four times prior, this was an absolutely astonishing achievement.

I have seen several of Satomi’s matches on SquashTV in the past and she’s always been a pleasure to watch, however, the performance she put on in London has put her on the map and shows that she’s on the rise.

I’m aware that it’s been a short while since we’ve had an interview with a big name on the PSA World Tour, so, I’m thrilled to let you all know that Satomi has been kind enough to answer a few questions for this week’s article!

This interview delves into Satomi’s background, history, and aspirations as a professional squash player. Without further ado, let’s dive in…


Satomi’s Bio

Age: 25    Height: 170cm    Weight: 60kg
Born: 15 Jan 1999   Birthplace: Yokohama, Japan
Sponsors: Tecnifibre
Joined PSA: 2014
Highest World Ranking: 14   Current World Ranking: 14

  • Please tell us a little bit about your squash journey so far?

I started playing squash when I was 8. My friend’s mom played squash so she asked me if I wanted to try to play and I said yes. I’ve been playing squash for 17 years now!

  • What is the squash scene like in Japan?

Squash is quite a minor sport, so I don’t think many people know what it is. However, there are still many amateur players who play in local tournaments.

  • When did you make the leap to becoming a pro, and what made you do it?

I used to do many sports when I was a child but, when I was 10, I decided to just focus on squash so since then I’ve only played squash. The father of Misaki Kobayashi (the former Japanese number 1 player and top 30 player) asked me if I’d like to play squash as a sport, not just a hobby, and I decided to do that. So, that’s how I got into the professional game.

  • Congratulations on your win at Optasia! How did you find your final against Nele Gilis? Would you say that this is your biggest squash moment/achievement so far?

Thank you! Yes, it was my biggest achievement so far and the final I played on that day was probably the best performance I have ever played. Nele is obviously one of the top players and she is so hard to beat, that’s why she’s World No.4. I just tried to simply stick with my game plan and it worked out well on that day.

  • Who is/are your current idols on the PSA World Tour?

They’re both no longer on tour, but I have to say Nicol David and Low Wee Wern. Nicol was and is someone I’ve always looked up to and Wee Wern taught me how I should be training if I want to get to the top. I actually grew up in Malaysia (when I was 12 to 17) while Wee Wern was there. She trained with me even though my level wasn’t there, allowing me to learn a lot of things from her technically and mentally. So I respect her a lot.

  • What are some of your future goals?

My biggest future goal at the moment is to be in the Olympics but, before I get there, I want to get into the top 10 in the world.

  • What is your current racquet of choice and do you have any other ‘go-to’ pieces of kit?

The racquet that I’m using right now is the Tecnifibre Carboflex 125 X-Top. Most of my kit is from Tecnifibre, which I really appreciate, and the design of the clothes is always stylish!

  • What is your biggest strength in squash?

Probably my analytical skills when assessing my opponent’s game.

  • What are your favourite and least favourite shots?

My favourite shot is the flick that I use in the front corners and my least favourite shot is the lob!

  • Who is the toughest player to play on the PSA World Tour?

The toughest player I’ve faced so far is Nour El Sherbini (which is understandable😅)

  • One piece of advice to younger aspiring players

Believe in yourself, even though it might take some time to get to where you want to be.


So, there you have it, a look into the life and career of Satomi Watanabe so far… I’m looking forward to seeing Watanabe’s performances during the season’s last few tournaments, however, I’m even more excited to see how her game progresses during the off-season.

I can certainly see her making it into the top 10 during the first half of next season and I’ll be rooting for her to do so! It’s also really incredible to see players of different nationalities like Satomi rising through the rankings and challenging those top incumbents.

Aged just 25, her squash journey is clearly just beginning.

If you do get the chance to watch Satomi on SquashTV (or in person), I’d highly recommend doing so. Of course, I’ll finish off by saying a huge thank you to Satomi for taking the time to answer the questions this week!

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