Sunday, 16 March 2014 | MYT 10:52 PM
Vanessa itching to face Massaro
Vanessa Raj is given the wildcard to compete in the main draw of the Women's World Championships and will face world No.2 Laura Massaro in the first round on Wednesday. - filepic
GEORGE TOWN: Vanessa Raj feels as if she is still dreaming as she prepares for her world championship main draw debut at the SPICE Arena in Penang on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old, who only turned professional earlier this year, remembers vividly the exact moment when she was told that she will be playing at the same level as 31 of the best squash players in the world.
“It was a week after Penang was announced as hosts for the 2013 Women’s World Squash Championship (on Jan 12). I was in the middle of a training session (at the Nicol David International Squash Centre) when coach Aaron (Soyza) told me that I had been given a wildcard for the main draw. It took some time for it to sink in as I was busy concentrating on my training,” said Vanessa on Sunday.
“I am really excited to be part of the world championship and I intend to utilise this chance to gain as much experience as possible.”
Vanessa could not have asked for a more difficult debut in the world meet, as she will be taking on world No. 2 Laura Massaro of England in the first round.
“I have watched Nicol (David) train and even sparred with her when she was back in Penang. So, the next best player to play against right now is Massaro and I think I have the best draw possible.
“I am not nervous at all despite the huge gap in experience and rankings between us. I want to enjoy every minute being on court against the world No. 2,” said world No. 103 Vanessa.
On her game plan for the match, the Asian Youth Games double gold medallist admitted she does not have a ghost of a chance of creating an upset.
Said Vanessa: “Let’s face it, nobody expects me to beat her. I have not seen Massaro play much before this and want to use this opportunity to see a top class player’s movements and shot-making on the court.
“My game plan is simple – to collect as many points as possible and to drag the match on for as long as possible.”
Vanessa is one of three Malaysian players – all Penangites – in the main draw of the world championship, The others are top seed and defending champion Nicol and the sixth seed Low Wee Wern.