In this week’s StarGazer Interview:
Alana Miller, Canada
STARGAZER : How was training, building up to your first tournament?
ALANA :My training was great, leading up to the Greenwich Open, and the Burning River in Cleveland. In the past I usually take ten days away from squash around Christmas but this year I chose to continue to train through the holidays so that I would feel strong, fit and confident for my tournaments in January. In the Greenwich Open I played well and fought hard in the second round of qualifying before going down to Aisling Blake in five games. Unfortunately in the next days, when taking advantage of the many training partners in Greenwich, I strained my piriformis muscle—a muscle around my butt. A few days later, I travelled to Cleveland with the intention of competing but pulled out once my strain was diagnosed by a doctor.
Although I was disappointed to miss one of the best tournaments on the calendar, my decision to pass on the competition was a good one because I was able to be home to receive treatment. My athletic therapist is a miracle worker when it comes to healing injuries because with only two and a half weeks of massage and electric therapy, I was ready to compete in the Dayton Open. I would have liked more match play before the tournament but I played well to push Kasey Brown to four close games in the quarter final.
Now I have a few weeks left to train before my next tournament and I am working on my speed to the front of the court.
STARGAZER : Did you enjoy the event?
ALANA :My first event of 2010 was the Harrow Greenwich Open and I loved the event. I was billeted with a great family who took great care of me. And once the tournament was over, a few players and I spent a night in New York City where I saw my first Broadway show—Memphis, and enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner.
STARGAZER : Are your matches getting more competitive at the moment amongst your peers?
ALANA : Yes my matches are getting more competitive. I feel like the level on the WISPA tour is improving and more players are playing at a high level. The matches are closer and longer. Personally, I feeling like I am closing in on players ranked higher than me but am being pushed by those ranked below me. The competitive matches make the tournaments interesting as the seeded players are not always coming out on top.
STARGAZER : What was your toughest match so far in your career?
ALANA : I have had many tough matches but the toughest match I have ever played was at the Canadian Nationals in 2004. I played Runa Reta in the final and since we grew up playing juniors together, we had a well established rivalry. This match was the first final for both of us at the senior level so we battled nerves and each other on the court. I pushed my hardest mentally and physically that day. I realized after that match, the tough training that was needed to compete at the senior level.
STARGAZER : Can you give us some insights of your routine at a tournament.
ALANA : My routine at tournaments varies slightly but generally on match day, it involves a morning practice, a long stretch, an afternoon of relaxing and then an evening match. In the afternoon I like to sleep or read or socialize.
STARGAZER : Any new year’s resolution?
ALANA : Yes, always a new year’s resolution. In 2010, I vow to book my flights early to take advantage of the advanced booking prices.
STARGAZER FACT FILE:
Name : Alana Martha Miller
Age : 29
Nationality : Canadian
Home State/Town/City : Winnipeg, MB
Current World Ranking : 38
Coach : Trevor Borland
Racquet : Black Knight
Favorite Squash Player of All Time : Nicol David because of her outstanding skill and grace on court and for her modesty off court.
Proudest Achievement : Winning a gold medal in the team event at the 2007 Pan Am Games.
Favorite Tournament : I have many but I love the tournaments when I am billeted with a lovely family with kids who are excited about squash. In terms of location, I love warm weather. I am looking forward to going to Texas and Cayman Islands.
Favorite Food : Chocolate
Favorite Holiday Destination : Florida
Favorite Color : Pink
Follow Alana on her Facebook FanPage, here!