England’s Number One and one of the favourites for the Open, Jo Drinkhall, managed to complete a 5 Questions Interview.
1) The draw had been made and you are up against Malin Nilsson, Sarah Burge and Megan Phillips. Have you faced any of them before?
I have played Megan Phillips before, she has an awkward style to play against as she plays with long pimples on the backhand, it means I have to be extra concentrated on what spin is on the ball at all times. I haven’t played the other two before, but I am aware that Sarah Burge is a defender, like myself, so I will prepare for that.
2) Out of the UK entries to the tournament you are on of the favourites to do well; do you find yourself under pressure to get to the latter stages? and if so how do you cope with that pressure?
There is slightly more pressure on us English players to do well and get to the final stages as we want to promote our sport in this country and show people what we can do. Being on home ground and it is nice to give the English spectators something to cheer for. Although I am aware of these things, when I am on the court I just try and focus on winning the next point, if I can do that then everything else takes care of itself.
3) Tin-Tin Ho is a emerging talent for England; do you find yourself passing an advice?
It is nice when you get young talented players come into the squad, like Tin-Tin, who are hungry and eager to learn. I have now been studying the sport for 20 years and have had some great experiences with playing in London 2012 Olympics and soon to compete in my 3rd Commonwealth Games in a months time in Glasgow, so if I can help by sharing some of my knowledge and experiences with these players who are just starting out in their careers then i will try.
4) Do you find it hard to play players in your England team at individual tournaments?
Having to sometimes play against friends and team mates is just something that comes with the sport. When it happens we just have to treat it like any other match. It can sometimes be more difficult for me with my defensive style when playing against players that i practice with a lot as it is harder for me to confuse them with my spin variation and surprise them with my attack. Again this is just something that comes with the sport and when it happens I just have to find other ways to win.
5) Finally BT Sports are covering the finals on TV and the Commonwealths will be shown on TV. What more could be done in Britain to make the sport more commercial?
Yes it is great that BT Sport are covering the finals and that the Commonwealth Games will also be on TV, this is exactly what we need to help raise the profile of our sport. The more it is covered by TV and other media the more people will get to know the players, understand the complexities of the game and how it is played. It is an amazing sport, what with all the spin variations and the speed at which it is played, I truly believe that if we can just give it a bit more exposure it will really become popular.
Many thanks to Jo for taking the time to talk to us. It’ll be a good test to get out of this group and we wish Jo all the best for the Open.