World No.21 Coline Aumard was playing some of the best squash of her career and had reached her highest World Ranking to date before professional squash was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, with a first quarter final at a PSA Platinum under her belt, the Frenchwoman believes she can kick on again with a place in the top 20 topping her list of goals to achieve when the tour resumes and confirms she has no plans to hang up her racket any time soon.
“I am proud of the player I am today but every day I work even harder to be a better one,” said Aumard. “The level of the women’s game is so much stronger than before and with the “new” points system, it is not easy to break into the top 25/30.
You have to be smart with the tournaments you choose to play and take your chance when you have a “good” draw. I feel like there’s still room for improvement and being top 40 is not enough for me. However, I am proud with what I have achieved but I want more.
“I want to say; “trust the process”. As I will be 31 in June and if I were to have listened to certain people, this would have been my last couple years on tour just to have fun and enjoy the end of my career. However, these people are wrong! Breaking into the top 20 is the motivation. This is what drives me to train harder each day. This result is a big accomplishment and it helps to confirm I am on the right track.”
Prior to the tour being suspended, Aumard had been enjoying an impressive tournament in Cairo, at the CIB Black Ball Squash Open where she upset higher seeded opposition in the form of World No.12 Salma Hany in the second round before going onto reach her first quarter final at a Platinum event.
Her win over Egypt’s Farida Mohamed to reach the last eight also meant that she was the last Frenchwoman standing in the tournament, after French No.1 Camille Serme had been knocked out by eventual winner Hania El Hammamy in the last 16. And Aumard admitted the tournament as a whole was a huge achievement for her.
“I’ve had a few loses this season which I’ve learnt from,” said Aumard.
“I’ve also had few good wins which has helped me to accumulate a number of points for my ranking. Obviously, my last result in Cairo was a massive achievement so, I would rate my season with a 7/10 so far.
“The Black Ball Open 2020 will always be very special. Reaching the quarters final of a Platinum event is one of the reasons why I train every day. I am very proud, not only with the result but, with the way I played each match. I have been changing a few things and working with new people. I think the work we have been putting together is finally paying off. I am very happy with the team I have around me today and I can’t wait to make them even prouder.”
Involved in that team is fitness coach Gary Nisbet, who Aumard insisted she had been working particularly hard with over the past few months and despite the unexpected break in the season, the 30-year-old is confident of what she can go on to achieve.
“It is very frustrating. I have been working very hard with my fitness coach. We have set out clear goals and ways to achieve them. March was a very important month as I was due to play the Annecy Open back in France at my home club. We had been working extremely hard over the past few months to be fully prepared for this tournament.
“It is very hard to stop at this stage of the season, but I couldn’t be more confident for the future. I know what works for me and I can’t wait to be back on tour.
“One of my goals at the start of the season was to win the Annecy Open. Unfortunately, I couldn’t due to the global pandemic but winning a 20k is one of my goals. Breaking into the top 30 is another goal I wanted to achieve and reaching a quarter final of a platinum event is the cherry on the cake.”
Despite missing being able to get on a squash court due to being based in England during lockdown, the World No.21 has a lot of plans to make the time pass quicker, with a headstart on wedding plans top of the list.
“I truly miss stepping onto a squash court. I try to stay positive and taking advantage of being away from the court. Training in the car park and being outside is good fun and kind of feels “old school” but I can’t wait to hit the ball again.
“I am a very active person and can’t sit down on my laptop for hours or watch TV for ages, but I always find something productive to do. I love cooking and baking new recipes. I found it very relaxing so, I cook breakfast, train, cook lunch, train again, cook dinner and then bake ‘healthy’ deserts before going to bed. My days goes pretty fast.
“I am in England during the quarantine so, as soon as we are free to travel again, I will go back to France to see my family and friends. There are no holidays planned either but, I would love to visit England/Scotland this summer. Plus, I can start working on planning our wedding with Adam. We are thinking to take one extra year to plan the wedding due to the global pandemic. Hopefully the wedding will take place in summer 2022.”