At 30, Ivan targets top 30 ranking

KUALA LUMPUR: National No. 2 Ivan Yuen turns 30 in September. But he has no plans to settle down just yet. He has another number on his mind – he wants break into the top 30 of the world rankings by the end of this year.

The Selangor-born, who turned professional 13 years ago, is now ranked 49th in the world although his best ever ranking was 40th, in March, 2017.

He hopes to play eight to 10 PSA tournaments this year to achieve his target. Ivan took part in the Tournament of Champions in New York three weeks ago, his first tournament this year, and gave Iker Pajares Bernabeu of Spain a good fight before losing 8-11,10-12,11-5,9-11 in the first round.

Ivan, however, hopes to bounce back by winning the CNS International Open in Karachi, Pakistan, which begins on Tuesday. He is the top seed while Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam, who is ranked 51, is the second seed.

Ivan, who helped Malaysia finish ninth in the world team championships in Washington last December, said his biggest challenge was to break into the top 30.

“I have been trying to do so for the last two years but, this time, I am leaving no stone unturned to achieve it.

“I need to improve every aspect of my squash to challenge higher ranked players in PSA tournaments, ” said Ivan.

Asked about his personal life, Ivan, who has a degree in business administration from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), said: “Although I have a girlfriend, I am not ready to settle down. I want to first accomplish my goal to reach the top 30.”

Last year, Ivan featured in 12 PSA tournaments but won only one title – the Indian Tour in Chennai last October.

In the other PSA tournaments, he either lost in the first or second rounds.

Ivan said he had to reach the quarter-finals in bigger tournaments if he wanted to start improving his rankings.

“I hope to play consistently well in all PSA tournaments and win some small tournaments to boost my morale for major ones.

“Although I will be turning 30, I will continue to play in PSA tournaments for another few years, ” said Ivan, who will also feature in the Windy City Open in Chicago from Feb 27-March 4 before he returns home to play in the Asian Team Championships in Bukit Jalil from March 25-29.

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