Nothing to lose as Willstrop looks more like his usual self Down Under

PUBLISHED: 13:29 06 April 2018 | UPDATED: 13:29 06 April 2018

James Willstrop was close to his best on the Gold Coast. Picture: PA

James Willstrop was close to his best on the Gold Coast. Picture: PA


Squash star James Willstrop insists he has nothing to lose at the Commonwealth Games.

Commonwealth Games logo. SportbeatCommonwealth Games logo. Sportbeat

North Walsham-born Willstrop admitted a little jet lag in his first round match but looked back near top form in his 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7 win over New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson.

The 34-year-old was a men’s singles silver medallist in Glasgow four years ago, but insisted there was no room for complacency Down Under – a fact underlined by the shock exit of third seed, India’s Saurav Ghosal at the hands of Jamaican Chris Binnie.

“I’m more relaxed now and it’s not life and death like when I was younger because I have perspective,” he said.

“It’s probably likely that it’s my last Games so I’m going to try and give it my all.”

Willstrop admitted some frustration with continued let and stroke calls during the latter stages of the match, but insists ranting doesn’t actually help his game.

“I didn’t find it too bad,” he added. “Towards the end it got a bit annoying as I wanted to keep the flow going, these things happen.

“Sometimes you get a couple of players who clash a bit with their movements but that’s squash.”

“I try to keep myself mentally prepared and rely on experience. What’s the point in doing all the work if you don’t stay calm and stay in the match? There’s no secret. I just try and stay as relaxed and calm as I can.”

However, Grayson believed he missed an opportunity to take down a major scalp.

He said: “It’s really disappointing. It’s a tough draw but he’s a former world number one and I think I just needed another ten minutes to turn it around and put some pressure on.”

Elsewhere, west Norfolk-born Jamie Chestney combined with Robert Paxton and David Bolt in the bowls to edge out a stubborn Indian team in their men’s triples match, winning by a single point after 18 tense ends.

They later swatted aside South Africa 24-13 to secure their spot in the quarter-finals.

“Ultimately the first thing is to get out of the group and in to the knockout phase which we have done and you hope for a kind draw and so heads on and we’ll look to get the job done,” said Chestney, from Fakenham but now living in Devon.

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