Ashley Davies Question & Answer

June 29 2016

Ashley Davies was a professional squash player who started competing on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour in 2013 & achieved a career-high PSA World Ranking No.98.

Earliest sporting memory:
Going to watch Chesterfield Football Club play Bury in a League 2 match with my dad. We left at half time as Chesterfield were losing 2 nil & playing awful & missed them come back to win 3-2 in the second half!

Sports watched: Horse racing, football, golf, boxing & NFL.

Sports played: Squash, tennis, football, golf & horse riding.

Why a life in sport, or if it hadn’t happened, what would you have done instead?
I’ve always loved competing, beating other people & being active. So, I would say professional sport offers all those things! If I hadn’t had a life in sport I would probably have liked to of gone into the police force & worked my way up to the top of that profession.

Toughest part of your sporting life:
The toughest part in my sporting life so far has been trying to cope with the highs & lows of professional sport even at the level I am at right now. Learning to deal with the uncertainty that lies within sport & that there is no perfect formula for success. Injuries are equally as tough as this, but I believe that injuries are a slightly different sort of toughness.

Most memorable sporting moment:
Watching Manchester City win the Premiership in 2012 when they beat QPR & scored two goals in 2 minutes to win, whilst they were showing Sir Alex Ferguson & the Man United players celebrating as they thought they had won the league!

Worst sporting moment:
Every time I lose a PSA match. I hate losing no matter who it is.

Sporting heroes:
Nick Matthew, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Anthony Joshua, AP McCoy & Ruby Walsh

Favourite venue & why:
So far, the best event I have been fortunate to play has been the Seattle Open held at the Seattle Athletic Club. It’s my favourite event because the location of the club in downtown Seattle is amazing & the city itself is so quirky & diverse. But I made some great friends over there because of the event.

Sporting event you would pay the most to see:
NFL Super Bowl

And to miss:
Not sure I can say what I would like to miss as I am pretty interested in any professional sport.

Question asked most often by the public:
Can you earn a living playing squash?

And the answer:
Of course you can! You can make money in anything in life if you are the best at it.

Greatest change you would like to see in the running of your sport:
I would like to see obviously an increase of media attention towards our sport which I believe it deserves. As we all bust our guts for very little return. I feel if the sport continues to get more media coverage like it has over the past years thanks to the likes of SquashTV, BT Sport, etc. It could have a positive knock-on effect in a lot of areas within our sport.

How well is your sport covered in the media?
I believe it is getting better like I stated above but it needs to keep getting better because we deserve better.

Sporting motto:
If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten, don’t be scared of change.

Who would you most like to invite to dinner & why?
I would love to invite Ruby Walsh & AP McCoy round for dinner just to meet them as I love horse racing & would love to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes in racing & maybe get some inside tips!

Ashley Davies looks back on his tour of New Zealand
Ashley Davies looks back to his recent tour of New Zealand which included three Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour events – the Palmerston North Fitzherbert Rowe Lawyers New Zealand PSA Squash Classic, the Squashways Christchurch Open & ILT Community Trust NZ Southern Invercargill Squash Open.

Overall I thought it was a successful trip & another stepping stone on my way to the top. A few frustrating results but I put my all in every time I stepped on court!

The first event I played over there wasn’t a PSA event but a national team event ‘Cousins Shield’ a prestigious New Zealand event in which I represented North Shore Squash Club from Auckland. I helped my team succeed in beating its seeding of 7 & we finished 4th out of 15 teams. In the quarter-final match I won the final important match to put us through the semi-finals beating current World No. 37 Declan James 3-2 which was a great result for me but a huge win for the team. We then struggled to go much further losing out in the semi-finals & ending up 4th, but it was a great result to be our seeding & the team seemed pretty happy.

My second event was the Palmerston North Fitzherbert Rowe Lawyers New Zealand PSA Squash Classic 2016 15K. I won my first round of qualifying reasonably comfortably against a South Korean 3-0 which in hindsight was a real good result to win in 3 as he went on to get a few good wins over the whole trip. Then in qualifying finals I beat a Pakistani who used to be top 50 in a tough 3-2 battle but came through strong in the end & I was really happy with that result as it meant it was the first time I have qualified for a PSA 15K World Tour event. In the main draw I played Ivan Yuen from Malaysia & current World No.54. I lost to Ivan 3-0 after really struggling to break him down. But from that beating I felt I learnt a real lot from his class, movement & composure he was a real class act but also 5 years older than me.

Next up was the Squashways Christchurch Open 2016 10K. I fortunately received a bye through the first round of qualification due to another player failing to get a visa. So, in qualifying finals I played an Australian of similar age & ranking to me Rhys Dowling & this was arguable the toughest draw of qualification. But I managed to win 3-1 pretty comfortable after losing a tight first game, I got better as the match went on & played really disciplined & focussed which I was really happy with. Next in the 1st round I got a reasonably good draw to play another Aussie Josh Larkin current World No.92 & good friend, so I saw this as a good but tough chance. We played for just over 90minutes & I lost out 3-2 after coming back from 2-0 down which was hugely disappointing as I felt this was a chance to get a good scalp as I played really well but just ran out of steam towards the end again as I was playing a player a fair few years older than me. But I left everything out there on the court & I don’t think you can do much more other than accept the result & learn from it.

From Christchurch the next PSA was the Invercargill for the ILT Community Trust NZ Southern Invercargill Squash Open 2016. But before venturing down to the ‘Bottom of the World’ as some people call it, me & another pro took a detour through one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen - Queenstown. We took a couple days of down there to absorb the beauty, take some pictures & most importantly rest up & refresh for the next event.

So again, in Invercargill I found myself with a bye through the first round of qualifying after the same player still couldn’t get a valid visa. I beat a young local player in the final round of the qualifying 3-0 convincingly & again giving me another shot at a top-class player. This time I got drawn against Rex Hedrick of Australia & current World No.62 who’s been as high as 52. This was arguably the toughest draw to get as Rex was seeded 3 & made the final of the previous 15K tournament in Palmerston North. Nonetheless, I felt this was my best performance of the trip. I lost a tight 3-1, after taking the 1st game 11-5 through using shear pace & hard hitting, I then lost the next 11-7 before losing the last two games 11-9 11-9 in which we were locked in at 9-9. So, looking back & having watched my match back I felt if I could of been a little more experienced & composed on those big points like Rex was due to his experience, the result could of been mine. Similarly, to playing Ivan I felt I learnt a massive amount from that chance to get to play someone like Rex & being able to watch the match back online was invaluable. I feel therefore trips like this are so important because it gives you a chance to expose yourself to players from different countries in which they play the sport in a slightly different way & this helps your learning of the game.

Overall, I feel that the trip was a success, but not enough success as I wanted. But there’s lots to learn from & I’ve lots of experiences from it & I have a very clear idea now of what I want to focus my time & efforts on over the summer. But first it is time to put the feet up & reflect on the season rest up before the next big push.