PETALING JAYA: Second seed Ivan Yuen (pic) predicts it will be tough for him to win the men’s singles title for the third time in the national championships starting today at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil.
The 28-year-old says this year’s race for the men’s title is an open affair with the rise of several other players.
Ivan is ranked 46th in the world while top seed Ng Eain Yow is the highest-ranked men’s player at 37. The others are Muhd Syafiq Kamal (88th) and Addeen Idrakie (99th).
Ivan, whose highest world ranking was 40th in March 2017, does not want to set any high expectations on himself in the tournament.
“I know people are eager to see me win my third championships, but others are determined too,” said Ivan.
“I want to win tournaments, but I am not going to put much pressure on myself.
“Taking it one step at a time is my game plan in the championships.” said Ivan, who turned professional in 2007.
Only former international Ong Beng Hee has won it thrice while Azlan Iskandar and Nafiizwan Adnan have lifted the trophy twice.
Ivan received a first-round bye and will start his campaign against either Adam Agan Aziz or Muhd Hafiz Zhafri.
Ivan, whose last tournament ended with a first-round disaster at the British Open in May, is using the national meet as a warm-up ahead of the new Professional Squash Association (PSA) season in September.
“I’ve picked up pace in training since June and hopefully, a good showing in the national meet will put me in good stead ahead of the PSA tour,” said Ivan.