Scottish squash star Alan Clyne believes the fact that he and doubles partner Greg Lobban are such different characters makes their partnership strong as they go searching for gold at the Commonwealth Games next year.
Last week the duo were the first squash players confirmed in Team Scotland for the trip to the Gold Coast in April next year.
And Clyne, 31, feels that he and Lobban, 25, are on the same wavelength in the build-up to the big one in Australia.
“We are from the same part of the world [the Black Isle] and we have known each other for years,” Clyne said.
“Our doubles partnership did not begin until 2016, but then we went out and won the World Doubles Championship in Australia so that was the best start we could have hoped for.
“I am perhaps more reserved while Greg is louder, a bit of a ball of energy and also likes to take more risks on the court.
“Our different styles and demeanours complement each other well and in a doubles partnership you have to get on because you spend so much time together and, if you aren’t careful, a match can be over quickly.
“We are excited about the build-up to the Gold Coast.”
Clyne in particular is determined to reach the podium, having finished fourth in the men’s doubles at both the Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 Games.
He took his seventh Scottish national title in March and has risen to a career high of 24th in the world singles rankings, whilst competing extensively in the World Series and reaching the semi-finals of the 2017 Swedish Open.
“My game feels in a good place at the moment and I think it has been a good last few months with all the top Scottish players working hard as a group at Oriam on the outskirts of Edinburgh,” Clyne stated.
“We all push each other on and have healthy completion while there are some talented young players coming through.
“It is good to know that I am in the Commonwealth Games team early because it means that I can plan my schedule accordingly and build-up well while myself and Greg can get a lot of court time together to work on the partnership and make it stronger.”
Lobban, who also lives in Edinburgh now and trains at Oriam having moved down from Inverness, believes he is more confident and wiser heading into these Games.
“When I went into Glasgow 2014 I think it was all a bit of a whirlwind and because it was a home Games there was so much hype around things,” he said.
“I have been around the world playing since then and learnt a lot which I aim to take into the Gold Coast experience.
“Also recently having quite a long time out through injury I made sure that I did not rush back, but got myself into top condition and I have been pleased with the way I have played in recent months.
“Linking up with Alan, we had no expectations heading into the World Championship last year really because we were a new partnership and we had not played doubles together in a major championship.
“We had practiced a lot together and played in some smaller events, but we weren’t sure how it would go abroad.
“With the event being in Australia and us beating Australian teams in the semi-final and the final the majority of the crowd were cheering for the opposition, but we just shut that out and there were a couple of Scottish flags there which was great.
“It is a learning curve for us as a pair, but we are certainly looking towards the Gold Coast and beyond.
“This year we reached the final of the same event and I am buzzing about the thought of playing in the doubles and singles out in the Gold Coast.”
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