UJ squash star Alexa Pienaar will have a dual objective when the University Sport South Africa tournament takes place in Port Elizabeth next month.
The University of Johannesburg visual arts student will be defending the individual title she won for the first time last year, while her team will be chasing a remarkable seventh straight triumph at Nelson Mandela University from July 1 to 6.
The 23-year-old, though, knows she will be under pressure from her rivals.
“I have managed to do well at USSA every year and it is kind of expected of me to do well again,” said Pienaar.
“I understand the real test will come on the court and I hope it will be enough to bring home the individual title again.”
She felt there would be equal pressure in the team competition as UJ defend the title again, but added they had undergone extensive training in their preparations.
“We have been doing some heavy training since the start of the year.
“Our focus was to build on a solid fitness foundation and then work towards a more focused [skill and power-based] training routine as the bigger tournaments of the year started approaching.”
She said they realised that playing at the coast compared to the highveld altitude could make a difference.
“The ball moves a little slower and bounces less, but we are planning to have one or two training sessions before starting our matches.”