For Welsh No.1 Tesni Evans, playing at the Commonwealth Games is one of her favourite memories and when she travels to Birmingham next year, it will be to compete in her third Games.
The World No.11 made history in the Gold Coast Games in 2018, winning Wales’ first squash medal in 20 years with a victory over eight-time world champion Nicol David in the bronze medal match.
“It felt pretty special. I’d had a pretty hard week. I wasn’t seeded to win a medal and it was a tough draw. Everyone was playing well and it was such a special week, probably one of the most memorable weeks I’ve had in my career,” Evans says.
She adds: “The Commonwealth Games is definitely up there with one of the best things a squash player can go to. It’s just an incredible event. You get to represent your country, you get to spend the time with your teammates. It’s just a completely different feeling. You’re sharing an event with other sports and it’s one of the only chances we get to showcase our sport [against] other sports and get it out there to people who maybe haven’t seen squash before. So it always feels so special and to me I’ve got some great memories from both of the last two Games that I attended. It’s another chance to represent Wales and do as much as I can for the country as well.”
Making 2022 extra special for Evans, will be the fact that it’s being held in Birmingham, which she says will help give her the feeling of playing in a home tournament.
“We had Glasgow in 2014 and that felt like a home games, even though it wasn’t [in Wales]. But Glasgow was a lot further for family and friends and [Birmingham] feels like a home games, although I’m not sure the [whole] crowd will agree with that! But that’s Wales and England!
“There are a lot of people in my local area in the squash world who have already said how excited they are to come and watch, so hopefully we can get as much support as we can and make it as much of a home Games as we can. It’s amazing to be so close to home and have everyone close together. It’s going to be special.”
It is not just the pride of competing that Evans is targeting, however. After her success 2018, the 28-year-old is going to the Games with more medals on her mind.
“I would love to come home with a medal and hopefully I can upgrade it,” she says. She adds that she wants more than one medal this time round and has been training with Welsh men’s World No.10 Joel Makin to build a partnership that can win a mixed doubles event, too. “We’ve been finding our feet as a new pairing. Joel’s been great to play with, really encouraging. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it and enjoying myself, so hopefully that will give us another chance to come away with a medal,” she concludes.