Dylan has plans for Farag
With just a few days to go to the start of the richest 16-player PSA event ever, we chat to the event’s wildcard, Dylan Cunningham, who faces Ali Farag in the first round …
You’ve finished your studies, how did you manage your time to fit squash in ?
The balance of studying and training was difficult but manageable. However, I decided to transition to full time training to give myself the best opportunity to break into the highest echelon.
How did getting the wildcard entry come about ?
I’ve known Latasha Khan since I was about 12. She gave me advice when I was first went pro to not be afraid to reach out to tournament directors or sponsors for help. She warned that getting rejected would be a part of the process.
Coincidentally, I took Latasha’s advice to email Shabana Khan, her sister, to receive the wildcard for what will be an extremely prestigious event. Shabana couldn’t have been more helpful and she immediately gave me the great news that she would love to help out a rising U.S. pro by giving me the wildcard.
Playing in those tournaments give me a lot of confidence going into this event. The top players are ridiculously good at applying pressure. Each time I go up against these players it gives me a better idea how to deal with the pressure and, more importantly, how to find ways to apply some pressure back.
Having said that, Ali Farag will be a whole new beast for me. He’s got a really solid game and is in really good form recently. I watched a lot of the Grasshopper Cup so I’ve got a couple tactics in mind, we will see how they work on match day.
I won’t have anyone with me in Bellevue but I know I’ll have my family watching me on SquashTV. I also think a couple of the former and current players from F&M will be tuning in and cheering me on.
It’s the end of the PSA season – what are your plans for the Summer, and your aims for next season ?
This is my last event of the year so I’ll take a week or two of vacation and visit some friends once it’s over. But starting in June, I plan on returning to the grind of training and improving for next year.
My aims for the upcoming season are to continually improve my level of squash and work extremely hard to make it into the top-80
The PMI Bellevue Classic in three words ?
Prestigious. Lucrative. Inspiring.
Thanks Dylan, and good luck against Ali …