GEORGIA ADDERLEY seems determined to drag up squash’s profile almost single-handedly. That she is doing so at the tender age of just 17 makes her resolve all the more impressive.
Squash could do with an Andy Murray-type figure to catapult it back into wider public prominence and Adderley could well be the poster girl to do so. Her personal ambitions are limitless – “Becoming world No.1 is my long-term aim” – but she hopes to achieve that in tandem with making squash as popular and acceptable as it was in the Eighties.
The University of Edinburgh sports science student was recently in Argentina to promote the sport’s bid to be included at the 2024 Olympics, and she has also done the rounds Locally supporting grassroots campaigns like Girls Do Squash. In those sessions, curiosity abounded.
“You talk about squash to children and some say things like, “oh, it’s that game in the box” or “it’s hitting the ball off a wall” or “tennis wally” as one called it,” she recalls.
“So they understand the concept. It’s not a sport entirely in the shadows but in the past 20 or 30 years or so it’s definitely not been played as much as it maybe was in the 1980s and 1990s. But hopefully we can get that back up. If we can get into the Olympics that would be a big step in the right direction.
“For a while squash wasn’t easy to televise which is why it maybe didn’t make it into the 2012, 2016 or 2020 Olympics. But it’s definitely easier to watch now on television and the sport is growing as a result. We need to keep that going.”
Adderley, a former Scotland under-16 football captain, gave up the round ball game to concentrate on squash and believes it is incumbent on everyone involved to spread the word.
“I think it’s really important to show people what squash is,” she adds. “I’m very passionate about doing that, and especially getting other girls involved in the sport. I love squash and it’s such a big part of my life so I want to share that with as many people as possible to hopefully get them involved too.”
Her immediate focus is the British Junior Championships that begin today (Friday) in Nottingham. Adderley enters the under-19 draw as the second seed and buoyed by the memory of last year’s breakthrough success when she won the under-17 title.
“I’m feeling confident. The number one seed this time is the girl I beat in the final last year so I’m hopeful I can do it. That’s the aim – to bring back the title.
“Last year I went in as number one seed so I quite like pressure. Dealing with that is one of my strengths so it’s not something I worry about.”
Already she has her eye on next year’s Springfield Scottish Open, returning to the squash calendar for the first time in 18 years backed by the same firm of housebuilders who are also now giving her financial support. “I’d been looking for a sponsor for a couple of years so I really appreciate the support Springfield are giving me. It makes life a lot easier.”
With dad Mark now installed as Scottish Squash president, the Adderley name could well become synonymous with the sport for years to come. There are no apologies for that.
“If you lay down your goals then the worst thing that can happen is they don’t come true. But I just want to work as hard as I can and see where it takes me.”
Source : HeraldScotland