11 Points with Sam Todd
11 POINTS WITH WILD CARD SAM TODD
Our 2019 wild card Sam Todd will become the youngest player to appear in the tournament at just 15 years of age.
The Yorkshire schoolboy follows in the footsteps of Pontefract team-mate James Willstrop, who won our very first final back in 2004 by beating French ace Thierry Lincou in a best-of-seven final.
History repeats itself as Sam faces another Frenchman, the 2016 Canary Wharf champion Mathieu Castagnet, in the first round.
Interview by ALAN THATCHER
Q1: Sam, congratulations on being awarded the Wild Card this year. What are your thoughts on being drawn against former Canary Wharf champion Mathieu Castagnet?
It’s a privilege to be able to play in such a massive event and also playing against Mathieu I’m just going to enjoy every moment of it because I have no pressure and hopefully play my best squash.
Q2: Have you been to the East Wintergarden before to watch? If so, what was your favourite match?
I have been to watch this tournament quite a lot in my life and I have always enjoyed watching this event. I think one of the best matches I have ever watched was James Willstrop and Nick Matthew as it was one of the many battles they have had.
Q3: Your Pontefract team-mate James Willstrop was our very first winner back in 2004 (against a French opponent in Thierry Lincou). How much have you learned from watching James’s career?
It’s an honour to have someone like James around at your club and I have been watching and learning from him all my life and he has helped me a lot with my game.
Q4: Being part of the Pontefract squash family, when did you first get on the squash court?
I first started at the age of 2 and from then on I have loved the game ever since and just I just enjoy playing the game.
Q5: The club is steeped in squash history, with legends like Malcolm and James Willstrop, Lee Beachill, plus your Dad Mick. Was there ever a time when you thought about doing anything other than play squash?
No, I’ve been playing squash for about 13 years and I have never been bored of playing squash and my target has always been to become a professional squash player. I just love the sport and everything about it.
Q6: Any other hobbies and interests outside squash?
I do like a lot of sports, including rugby,boxing, swimming and try to get out as much as I can as I don’t just want to spend my life on a squash court all the time, because it’s good to get out of the way and will spend some time with my family.
Q7: What have been the highlights of your season so far?
I think the main highlights of my season is reaching the boys under-17 British junior open final a year young, and recently I won the British under-23s in London and now getting a wildcard for the Canary Wharf Classic.
Q8: Which player do you enjoy watching the most, and why?
My favourite player is RamyAshour because he makes the game look so easy, and he also started at a very young age like me and was on the PSA tour very early.
Q9: Where do you go to school and how long do you expect to stay there?
I go to Ackworth School and they have helped me a lot with balancing my school time with my squash and I am currently doing my GCSE’s and will then go on to college.
Q10: How supportive have the school been to you developing your squash career?
My school has been very supportive as I said earlier I have been able to balance out my schoolwork with my squash and they are very supportive, say if I have a tournament and I have to miss a few days.
Q11: Please give a shout out to your sponsors
I would like to give a massive thank you to all my sponsors as they have helped me with so much these past few years and I wouldn’t have been able to do some of the things I do now if it wasn’t for them. My sponsors are Dunlop, Squash TV, Pontefract Squash Club, Ackworth School, Back in Action (physiotherapy), Squash Travel and the Rackets Cubed Foundation.
Thanks Sam, and good luck on Sunday !