Joshna Chinappa aims for 18th national squash title

CHENNAI Joshna Chinappa still remember the day he won his first senior squash Nationals 21 years ago. It was a dream come true for the teenager then and now, 17 national titles later, the love of playing the prestigious event at home remains the same.

Nationals will always have a special place for me. It is the most prestigious national tournament and I think the best players should take the time to come and support it. I have always said that no matter where I am, I will try my best level to come and participate in this tournament every year, Joshna told TOI on the eve of the 77 Nationals from the Indian Pumpkin Academy since Wednesday

Joshna broke a 27-year record held by Bhuvneshwari Kumari , when he won his 17th title last year. But the numbers mean nothing to Joshna. A victory is a victory. Obviously, when I play on the international tour, the level is much harder in round 1. But that doesn't mean I take this tournament lightly. It is a tough competition and there are players who play on the PSA tour now. No matter if I have won 17 or none, the hunger to win will remain the same.

The squash Nationals returned to Chennai after a gap of 9 years and what makes this year's tournament more special is the fact that it will also be a selection trial for the Asian Team Championship to be held in Kuala Lumpur from March 25. Nationals are not all fun and games for the top players. And this year it is the selection trial for next month's team championship. So I will have to be prepared to fight for my spot. Players like Sunayna (Kuruvilla) and Tanvi (Khanna) are improving and I am confident that we will be a team to reckon with at the Championship, the 32-year old added.

Meanwhile, the best male seed Saurav Ghosal The road in the Nationals will be relatively easy after defending the champion Mahesh Mangaokar did not participate this year and second seed Ramit Tandon removed due to injury. But the 12-time champion does not expect an easy tournament. I am aware that I am not getting younger and at this age, the fight is with myself. Nationals will be the perfect opportunity to try different things I've been working on, Ghosal said.