Court conqueror Alex from Rondebosch hopes to make her mark in the squash world
“IF you can play like it means nothing when it means everything, you will be a champion”. A quote from Scotland’s sixtime world snooker champion Stephen Hendry, one that rings true for South Africa’s number one women’s squash player, Alex Fuller.
It’s the way Fuller goes about her business and boy, is the blonde bombshell driven to succeed.
But the 23- year- old Rondebosch resident and product of Rustenburg Girls’ High School, who first picked a racquet at the age of nine after watching her parents play, would relish a helping hand in the form of a R350 000 sponsorship to realise a goal of competing regularly on the international circuit and becoming a top-10 player on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Rankings.
Squash in SA is a sport where money is too tight to mention.
For any one of our leading lights to reach the top of their craft requires travelling overseas to play in the big money events, and that costs plenty; there’s travel and accommodation that has to be taken care of, not to mention having your coach along.
For the moment, Western Province Cricket Club’s Fuller is covering all the costs bar airfares that have been taken care of by her one sponsor Lazer Logistics.
“Having them on board definitely helps my cause,” said Fuller, “but if I can only find more of the same it would set me free to focus my energies on on-court matters and for sure my results would improve as the pressure to win at all costs would be much lesser.
“The better I do would create a win-win situation for all.
“But for now I must come to terms with the fact that it’s really up to me to see how far I can go.
“I’m ready to take on the world and the challenge is one I’m relishing.
“As things stand I’m 61 in the world in my fifth year on the PSA Tour (made top 100 first year) and my goal is to crack a spot in the top 10.
“The gap from where I am to where I want to be in the next few years isn’t that great in my opinion.
“Baby steps now will get me there and for now I just want to sharpen up on certain aspects of my game with the help of my coach Paul Atkinson who has been in my corner for the past five years.
We’ve built up a great relationship and do understand each other’s roles, and my game has benefitted because of it.
“I feel confident each and every time I step onto the court with no trace of arrogance; I respect my opponents but am driven to come out on top.”
Atkinson believes his charge is on the way to rich rewards. This young lady wants it badly. She’s a tough cookie who settles for nothing less than 100 percent effort, both in practice and on match day.
“The fact that she’s never arrived late to practise is proof enough of her dedication and I only see her going on to scale even greater heights in the years to come.
“On her game, the focus has been on increased speed around the court and movement towards the ball in order to set up the right choice of shot to play before making impact.
“These key ingredients are essential for her to move up the pecking order.”
Fuller bagged a maiden PSA title in 2016 at the Title at the Sekisui Open in her finest season.
Last month she contested the SA Open and lifted the title and R21 000 prize money after ousting top seed Cheyna Tucker 3-11 11-4 12-10 11-2 in the final at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
The former SA national championships winner and three-time finalist will play two overseas events and then return home to assess things.
ALEX FULLER: Wants to make inroads on the world rankings.