Cuskelly smashes US Pro
FORMER Evans Head resident Ryan Cuskelly capped one of his best years on the court by topping the US Pro Squash Series rankings.
Cuskelly, 28, claimed the top prize of $2500 and won additional prizemoney.
The Australian No 2 was in fine form throughout the year, breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time.
He reached the semi-finals of the Qatar Classic after winning the $35,000 Bluenose Classic in Canada.
It made him the first men's player in 15 years to come through qualification and progress to the semis of a PSA World Series tournament.
In the pro series he picked up 1380 points from five events which included a win at February's Oregon Open and a runner-up finish at the Charlottesville Open in September.
A semi-final appearance at the Pittsburgh Open, combined with a quarter-final place at the Life Time Fitness Houston Open and a final qualifying round exit at the Suburban Collection Motor City Open added to his impressive total.
"I'm really happy to win the US Pro Squash Series this year, particularly because I came in second last year," Cuskelly said.
"Winning the series is even more special for me as I live and train in the US and play most of my tournaments around the country.
"I think this series could really grow as there are so many tournaments in the States now which makes it a great place to base yourself as a professional player on the PSA World Tour."
The 2015 US Pro Squash Series included 20 events ranging from $5000 to $70,000 prizemoney, with players needing to participate in a minimum of four tournaments to be eligible for the bonus money.
"My aim was to be in the main draws of the big tournaments by the end of the year, which I have accomplished," Cuskelly said.
"I haven't changed too much, just the intensity of my training has gone up.
"I believe I can beat top-20 players now, which is huge.
"My coach, Rodney Martin, has been a huge influence on getting me to the level I'm playing at now.
"I wouldn't be there without him."