Rory Stewart targets world top 20 after best ever year on court

Rory Stewart has his sights set on a spot in the top 20 of the Squash World Rankings. 

The 26-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the rankings, breaking in to the top 100 last year and hitting a high of 54 in November this year. 

Rory said: “I’ve managed to beat some top 30 players this season and that has maybe given an indication of how well I can play at my best. 

“If I can find that consistency and push on then one day, I’d like to be at least in the top 20.” 

The Scottish Squash Senior Player of the Year 2021/22’s career has hit new heights over the last year. 

In the early months of 2022 Rory won the Liverpool Cricket Club Open, and reached the final of the Bermuda Cup. 

He was also part of the team which finished third at the European Teams Championship – winning all five of his games – and won silver at the World Doubles Championships with partner Greg Lobban in April. 

Commonwealth Games success followed, as he and Greg secured a bronze medal for Scotland in the doubles. 

He said: “Those three events were definitely the highlights of the year, with the Commonwealth Games topping it all off. 

“It’s a shame that I couldn’t win any of these events, but it shows you that the Scotland team are playing at a really high level at the moment and doing well on the world stage.” 

The squash ace grabbed the Scottish public’s attention with a televised prime time upset of England’s Patrick Rooney in the singles in Birmingham. 

In a bruising 74 minute encounter, the Scot pulled through, and in doing so pulled off one of the great Commonwealth Games upsets. 

Rory said: “In Birmingham everything just came together for that week, and I managed to play well on the biggest stage. 

“That result gives me belief to kick on, and since the games I’ve managed to take some of that momentum forward which has been quite encouraging.” 

Perhaps as a sign of progress, Rory recently beat James Willstrop in the PSA Open Lagord – a reversal of the quarter-final result in Birmingham. 

And at the start of December Rory flew out to Hong Kong to take on some of the world’s best at a PSA Platinum Event, and he believes competitions like these will help his development. 

Rory said: “Even though I lost my first game, getting into events like these means that I will be able to compete against the best players. 

“I’m sure that my game will improve just by being in and around these top professionals.” 

Of the current top five in the World Rankings, three players are in their 30s. 

This gives Rory belief that he still has time to learn and improve before he hits his peak. 

He said: “I think players peak between 28 and 32, and players are managing to play at a high level for longer thanks to sports science and how well we look after our bodies. 

“There’s a really great set up in Edinburgh with Paul Bell and Kylie Lindsay, so I’m quite happy with how things are going at the moment.”