Greg Lobban leaves for two golds at the Double Squash World Championships

There are NOT many Scots who come to the World Cup with the belief that they can walk away with not one but two gold medals.

But that’s exactly the ambition Greg Lobban has when he starts his campaign in the World Doubles Squash Championship today.

Reaching such an ambitious goal is, of course, easier said than done.

But there are some factors that suggest Lobban’s chances of achieving his goal are better than most.

He’ll be home first.

For the first time, Scotland will host the Doubles World Championships, with the six-day event kicking off this morning in Scotland.

Second, Lobban knows exactly what it takes to win a world doubles title.

He won the gold medal in men’s doubles alongside Inverness man Alan Clyne in 2016 and became the first Scottish world champion in the sport since Peter Nicol in 1999.

It was a pretty big success, and that means Lobban will head to this week’s event confident of partnering with Rory Stewart in the men’s doubles and Lisa Aitken in the mixed doubles, confident that he can add one, if not two, championships. additional worlds to his name. .

“I think we have a good chance of winning gold in both events, but being in the game is more exciting than anything else,” said the 29-year-old.

“We want to be in a position to fight for medals – in any case there are six or eight partnerships that can win, so it’s a good place to be in that group.

“I don’t think the event in Scotland put a lot of pressure – I’m super excited to play at home and it’s great to have such a big event here.”

Doubles are rarely played at the highest level of squash and singles tournaments, mainly in the United States or Egypt, dominate the schedule.

While Lobban has spent most of his season focusing solely on himself, his doubles record means he knows exactly what to focus on for the next six days.

“Rory and I have been playing together for several years and things are going very well in practice. We mix very well and he’s had good results lately, so I’m excited to play together.

I wanted to play mixed because I’m thrilled to have Lisa as a partner – she’s a great doubles player, ”he says.

“The tactical part in doubles is huge: it’s about focusing on the tactics you can bring to the pitch as a couple, because doubles are played so rarely throughout the year, so it’s hard to know exactly what other teams are going to do. It’s about doing everything you can as a couple to make sure you bring your A-game. You have to get out of the blocks quickly.

Lobban is currently ranked 37th in the world for singles, hitting a career high of 21 years ago.

He believes he is approaching something close to his best form after suffering a series of below average results and a crisis of confidence over the past year.

However, the changes he made to get out of his stagnation revived his game just in time for that slope at the World Championships.

“Last year I had self-esteem issues and my form wasn’t great, but I’ve been back since January and I’ve had some good wins, so I’m feeling positive,” he says.

“I kept doing what I was doing and I thought it would be okay, but it didn’t happen, nothing was happening, so I had to pull it all out and it was like… concentrating, paying attention. .

“Last season I felt so bad and I had to act, the changes have worked well since then and I am very happy about it.”

These world championships aren’t Lobban’s only big goal of the year.

Started in just four months in Birmingham and Lobban, the Commonwealth Games finished fourth in the men’s doubles in 2018 and are eager to get on the podium this time around.

This week’s World Championships will set the qualifications and seeds for Birmingham 2022, which puts more emphasis on the Glasgow tournament, and indeed Lobban craves success in the Commonwealth Games more than success this week, especially after losing a medal four years ago. . .

“It’s a very important week in Glasgow, but maybe we want to be more successful at the Commonwealth Games,” he said.

“Being fourth on the Gold Coast was the worst thing I’ve ever felt right after a game.

“I certainly don’t want to feel that way again, but I feel the lessons I learned at the Gold Coast would really pay off if I landed in a similar role in Birmingham.

“Knowing that I have been this close before brings an element of pressure, but it also gives me confidence that I have been to medal matches before and I am sure we can come back if we have a good week.

“So if I come back this summer, I’ll be much more prepared for it.”

Source: Herald Scotland