Julian Jervis continues to turn heads on the squash court for the Cayman Islands.
Jervis, 16, advanced to the semifinals of the consolation plate singles event at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Jervis lost in the semis to Zambia’s Manda Chilambwe 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 at the Scotstoun Sports Campus.
The doubles segment starts this week, with Jervis pairing up with Myron Blair. Jervis said he has been impressed with Scotland and remains confident in his abilities.
“I’m still running off the vibes of winning the junior Caribbean Area Squash Association title,” Jervis said. “The guy I played earlier is a really good player. I still have my confidence because I know I can do better than I did.
“We’ve been training for three to four months, really intensely for this stuff now so I feel prepared. Glasgow is amazing, the village is great and the facilities are amazing. I couldn’t be happier.”
Heading into Scotland, expectations for Jervis were high following his CASA Junior Championships Under-17 title in Bermuda earlier this month.
Initially, it seemed the added scrutiny was a negative as he lost his first two matches to Chris Simpson of Guernsey (11-7, 11-4, 11-1) and Ravindu Laksiri of Sri Lanka (11-6, 11-3, 11-3).
Jervis, however, responded with wins over Moreaina Wei of Papua New Guinea (11-2, 11-4, 11-1) and Kevin Hannaway of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (11-1, 14-12, 11-5).
Interestingly, Jervis says he has been playing through a nagging injury.
“Laksiri ran me to the point where I aggravated my shin, which is a problem that I have quite often. I couldn’t really move into the front very well after a while, but he played very well.
“I was training one day with Cameron and I just think he did the same thing and the same thing happened. When I went to physio, they told me it’s because I have a really tight calf, which makes me not able to bring my feet up enough. It forces me to use muscles in my shin a lot more. It happens all the time now and I’ve been dealing with it for over a year.”
Another highly touted player for Cayman, Cameron Stafford, had mixed results. On his first day, he defeated Christian Navas of Gibraltar 11-2, 11-5 and 11-3 before losing to Botswana’s Alister Walker 11-3, 11-4, 11-5. He then made the classic plate quarterfinals, where he lost to Scotsman Kevin Moran 11-13, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 16-14.
As Stafford tackles the mixed doubles with Marlene West, he says he is motivated to post better results.
“I’m trying to redeem myself and get my confidence back,” Stafford said. “I go on to the doubles matches with Marlene and we take on two former world champions on the glass court.
“Marlene and I have never played on a glass court with each other so it’s a whole new experience.
“I’m healthy but there is a little tweak in both of my calves. I’m stretching, running, covering with a lot of cold ice baths.
“I’m moving well, playing well but getting the experience against these top players is what I need. You don’t get to play against the top players in the world every day.
“I get to train with upcoming juniors like Julian all the time so it’s about getting that exposure really.”
Cayman had two other players in the singles event. Daniel Murphy lost all three of his matches, falling to Kenya’s Hartaj Bains 11-7, 11-4, 11-6; Uganda’s Michael Kawooya 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 and Zambia’s Chilambwe 11-9, 11-5, 11-6.
Eilidh Bridgeman lost to Wee Worn Low of Malaysia 11-1, 11-2, 11-2 and Vanessa Florens of Mauritius 11-6, 11-1, 11-5.
Murphy says while his results were discouraging, he intends to keep battling.
“It was hard to adjust to the courts but overall I thought I played alright,” Murphy said. “I’m going to just try and play my best, stay on court as long as possible with the professionals. I’ll give my all and that’s all I can do really.”
Murphy teams up with Bridgeman in the mixed doubles. Bridgeman says at times she felt outclassed.
“I played the world No. 7 so it was really tough playing Low,” she said. “Obviously, there’s not much you can do against someone who is that good. But I think she was quite nice at keeping the rallies going. I was just running and running and that’s all I could really do.
“A lot of the players here are so strong that you’re going to meet someone very strong, very quickly. So really, as soon as you go on against someone like that you’re not going to get the chance to do it again so you have to make the most of it.”