Amir gets aggressive in push for top 100

KUALA LUMPUR: National junior squash player Mohd Amir Amirul Azhar has been trained by coach Andrew Cross of England for four years and he made progress.

Amir, who turned pro last year, was ranked 526 in the world in March last year but is now ranked 370.

But the 17-year-old Kelantan player has decided to get aggressive. He has changed coaches and has been training under local Shahril Shahidan since the end of February with the hopes of producing better results in the Professional Squash Association (PSA) tournaments and to reach the world’s top 100 by end of 2022.

“I believe coach Shahril can help me achieve it. I lack the attacking skills and believe coach Shahril can help me to be a more attacking player,” said Amir.

“The coach was an attacking player in his playing days and always emphasises aggressiveness on court.

“I only had about three weeks of training under him before the movement control order (MCO). Once the MCO is over, I hope to continue my training under coach Shahril to further improve my game and beat higher ranked players,” said Amir.

“My aim is to reach close to the top 100 in the world rankings by end of 2022 and I need to start producing results in PSA tournaments.”

Amir said Andrew was a good and strict coach. “I appreciate Andrew’s coaching ability but I want to make better progress,” he said.

The youngster featured in four PSA tournaments in 2019 and his best outing was reaching the quarter-finals of the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) PSA No. 2 tournament in April last year.

“I can focus on training and competitions this year as my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination has been postponed to next year,” said Amir, who was the losing finalist in the boys’ Under-13 British Junior Open in Sheffield in 2015. A few months later, he won the Under-13 Asian Junior title in Iran.

“I’m not sure when my next PSA tournament will be this year but I’ll continue to train as hard as I can,” he said.

He is indeed raring to go.

SRAM conducted two fitness tests in the last two weeks among 33 players – 17 men and 16 women – and Amir emerged as the fittest player in the first test.

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