Novice pro Cameron Stafford is in South Africa playing squash tournaments and looking to rise up the world rankings.
The 21-year-old Caymanian lost in Pretoria on Monday to a young and fast South Korean Kwon Hyeon-Jun, but he still felt he gained from the experience.
“I played in Johannesburg last week and lost 3-0 (4-11,10-12,3-11) to Rodney Durbach of South Africa, who is a former world No. 23,” Stafford said.
“He was too good and to sharp for me and altitude played a big part in the match, but what an experience playing a player of that quality.
“After the match, he had positive things to say about my game and giving me pointers on where I need to improve,” Stafford added.
“I was playing well and every single shot I played he got it back with pace and caught me out by surprise. That’s the way it goes sometimes.
I’m getting as much experience as I can get while in South Africa.”
Stafford is enjoying getting tips from his new coach, Mark Chaloner, the former world No. 7.
Stafford found time in Johannesburg to visit schoolchildren and talk to them about his career and ambitions.
He has two more tournaments in Cape Town before heading for the US to play in the Las Vegas Open.
Then he will be back in full training with his Island Games teammates in preparation for competition in Bermuda in July.
“I’ve only started working with Mark about a month ago before my travels,” Stafford said. “I like the way things are going learning a lot each step of the way.
“I visited a school in Johannesburg because my host’s daughter is a school teacher here and she asked me to come in and talk to the kids about my career and where I’m from,” he added.
“They really enjoyed it and they say I’ve inspired them to do great things for their futures.”