Cuskelly off to New York for squash tournament

FRESH from reaching the final of the St Louis Invitational Open, Evans Head’s most famous squash export Ryan Cuskelly is about to head ‘home’ to New York for one of the biggest tournaments of the year.

Cuskelly will contest the Tournament of Champions, which is held in the unusual surrounds of New York’s Grand Central Station.

It’s home for Cuskelly because that’s where his coach Rod Martin is based and he can branch out and play tournaments across North America.

“I say to myself sometimes ‘What the hell am I doing in New York?’ But my coach is there and it also allows me some coaching opportunities,” he said.

“The tournament there is one of the biggest of the year and one of the best to play in because they set up the courts in Grand Central Station.”

It all sounds rather glamorous, but in reality the Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder is just doing what he must to be a professional squash player.

And after a lean trot last season, the world No63 is hoping his health and form will hold together for a more serious tilt at the upper echelons of the rankings.

He spent time recuperating in Australia over Christmas and visiting family, who live at Evans Head and in Lismore.

“I just kept getting the ’flu all the time last year and I had a problem with a wisdom tooth, but I saw a couple of people back in Australia and got that all sorted out,” he said.

Whatever he did back home must have worked because he performed strongly in the opening tournament of the year – the St Louis Invitational Open in Missouri – reaching the final, where he was beaten by Egypt’s Ali Anwar Reda in a tough four-setter on Saturday

Cuskelly won the opening game 11-8 and led 9-7 in the second, later lamenting a number of missed opportunities.

“In that second game I hit a couple of shots that clipped the tin and if I’d made those then perhaps the result could have been different,” he said.

“The other games were very close, there really wasn’t much between us, but he was just the stronger player on the day.”

His recent run of good form will stand him in good stead for the Tournament of Champions in New York starting Friday.

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