Eyes on the prize for Cuskelly
IT HAS been a busy start to the year for former Evans Head resident Ryan Cuskelly with his eyes firmly set on the Professional Squash Association Dubai World Series in June.
He is now based in New York and played a home event at the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions at the weekend.
Cuskelly missed out on the world series finals last year and was forced to settle for cheering on Yamba's Cameron Pilley while he watched the event from home.
"It looked awesome there and I was jealous to see the guys playing in that setting,” Cuskelly told PSA media.
"It was great that Cameron was there as an Aussie, but I think it was him who knocked me out (of finals contention).
"I want to do well at every event I play, but I'm really hoping to try and make that top eight - my eye is definitely on Dubai.
"For a long time I was stuck at around 40 on the rankings and I had doubts about whether I should keep playing or pack it all in to be honest.
"But I made the decision to really put in the hard work. I changed a few things in training and in my swing and the last few years have been good.”
Cuskelly had a breakout year in 2015 where 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.
"I took December off with a conscious view on trying to perform well over the next four months,” Cuskelly said.
"I've always been a hard trainer, but I think coming from Australia makes it a little harder at the moment.
"We don't have the depth of players on a par to a country like Egypt, where they have so many top quality players to train with on a regular basis.
"So I think it takes our guys a little longer to move up the rankings and develop.
"It wasn't until I was about 28 that I started thinking 'I'm moving in the right way'.”