AIMING HIGH: Evans Heads Ryan Cuskelly in training at the Australian Institute of Sport in Brisbane.
AIMING HIGH: Evans Heads Ryan Cuskelly in training at the Australian Institute of Sport in Brisbane.

CUSKELLY WANTS IN

RYAN CUSKELLY'S aim is to break into the top 50 of the men's world squash rankings by the end of the year. And the former Evans Head right-hander may do it after an impressive four months which have netted him four titles, including the Queensland Open last weekend. In the last rankings released by the Professional Squash Association this month Cuskelly has jumped 10 spots to 85. Not bad considering the 20-year-old only had his first professional year in 2006. "It was pretty good to win (the Queensland Open)," Cuskelly said. "I beat the number one seed Steve Fitinif 3-0 who is ranked 75 in the world. "I want to be inside the top 50 by the end of the year if I can." Cuskelly won the Top End Open in April followed by a further two titles in Perth. His good form continued at the Australian Open in South Australia earlier this month where he was knocked out in a career-best performance in the quarter-finals by world number 45 Kashif Shuja of New Zealand. Cuskelly is based in Brisbane with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) program but he will be soon moving to New York for six months. "I'm going to New Zealand in 10 days and after that I'm playing in Malaysia," the former Trinity Catholic College student said. "Then I'm moving to New York with my coach, Rod Martin." Martin coaches regularly in the US and Cuskelly is going to use the opportunity to tap into a rapidly improving North American scene. "Australia is a long way from everywhere," Cuskelly said. "Squash is still mainly based in the United Kingdom, Asia and the Arab countries but it's definitely on the rise in North America and here. "There's record prize money around now." Cuskelly admitted he struggled for finances last year but things have eased somewhat in recent months. x "I can afford a hotel now," he chuckled. Cuskelly's immediate focus is on playing well in the New Zealand Open where a showdown with Shuja is on the cards if the Evans Head local can make it to the semi-finals. Meanwhile, Yamba's Cameron Pilley has been ranked 22 following his runner-up performance at the Australian Open. However, Egyptian duo Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour are still rated the top two in the world followed by Australia's David Palmer.



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