Nick Ratnarajah Athlete Ambassador
Nick is an elite level squash (racquetball) player and talks to Sundried about this interesting and sometimes underrated sport.
Have you always been into sport?
My first sport was cricket, which I started playing when I was about 6 years old. Shortly after I also got into swimming, which I continued with until secondary school when the hours and training got a bit much for me at the time. I took up squash because we were lucky enough to have courts at my school, but I still considered cricket my main sport for a few years at that point.
What made you decide to be a squash player?
It wasn't until 2012 when I was 16 that I started taking squash seriously and playing England Squash junior tournaments. I really enjoyed the physical side of the game, and the level of intensity which you have to keep up for long periods of time. I think at some point I must have realised I was getting much more out of it than my other sports and decided to push myself to see how high I could get.
What’s been your favourite game to date and why?
This summer I've played several tournaments, one of which I got the chance to play the world 120, Rob Downer. He also lives in Nottingham and we train together a bit but this was the first time I'd played him in the PSA and the second and third games were very tight. Although I lost I actually enjoyed the match more than the others because it proved I can compete against some of the top players, especially as I tend to struggle against his style of play anyway.
And your proudest achievement?
When I lived in Oslo for 4 months in 2016 I achieved a highest national ranking of 9 from playing just 4 tournaments. More recently my first win on the PSA Satellite Tour this summer was a very special moment for me.
How do you overcome setbacks?
When I'm struggling mentally with particularly tough results or staying motivated I like to take a step back and remember why I chose to do this. I think too often in elite-level sport the pressure and competitive nature can be overwhelming, and it's important to remember that the main reason for playing is passion and enjoyment.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
It doesn't matter how late you start a sport, you can reach a high level through hard work and a commitment to high-quality training.
What are your goals for 2020?
If I can break into the top 350 that would be a great result. I'm currently 445 in the world, so with a bit of luck I can start getting into tournaments and putting myself in a position where I can really take advantage of all the hard work I've put in this summer. I might need a few more results on the Satellite tour first, so if I can make a couple of semi-finals there and start playing the 5K tournaments on the Challenger tour I'll be really happy.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I think everyone has the capacity to inspire and teach others, so I try not to focus too much on what certain individuals are doing. Instead I like to take small lessons from everyone, whether that's athletes at the top of their games that train or play a certain way, or people who've found their passion in life and pursue it.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The work with charities like Surfers Against Sewage and Water for Kids is great, and I love the focus on sustainability and the fact that there are three ranges each with different ways of reducing the impact we have. There's a real drive at the moment to reduce the plastic that ends up in the oceans, so I really like the Eco Core range.