Frage 1: Du hast das British Open ü50 gewonnen und bist somit die Nr. 1 der Welt! Dein Vater ist British Open Champion ü75! Was ist das Geheimnis der Woodliffe Familie? Wieso seid ihr so fit?
We’ve both always enjoyed being active and played many different sports as kids, often cycling from one practice session to the next. I’m convinced this early love of sport is what set us up for life. The other thing is that we’ve never lost our enthusiasm for the game. We love to compete and we relish the challenge of this great physical game of chess! Dad still plays tennis and squash 4 or 5 times a week and of course I’m hoping I’ve got some good strong genes too!
Frage 2: In England aufgewachsen, von 1991 - 1996 als Squashtrainer in Basel beim SC Allschwil, dann wieder zurück nach England für ein paar Jahre und seit 2003 bist du wieder in der Schweiz. Was gefällt dir an unserem Land so gut?
On both occasions the reason for coming to Switzerland was squash and the job I was then offered. I wasn’t looking specifically to come here the first time around but my maternal grandmother was Swiss, from close to Herzogenbuchsee, so I have some Swiss blood! When the opportunity presented itself it seemed to make sense to come and I’ve always been very happy here.
Frage 3: Du gibst Squashunterricht im Grasshopper Club und im Airgate Center in Zürich. Dann hast du noch ein Teilzeitpensum als Sportlehrer an der Lakeside School in Küsnacht und bist Nationaltrainer der Schweizer Damen. Wie war dein Werdegang? Wie bist du zum Squashsport gekommen?
I enjoyed watching my father play and started playing with him quite early, with a cut off wooden racket in my hand. My secondary school was big on sport and I played maybe 8 or 9 sports competitively per year until the age of 18, but it was squash that I enjoyed the most and stuck with. I became fascinated by this game and still am: it’s an individual sport and yet you play as a team; it requires hand-eye coordination but relies heavily on balance and footwork; you need to be physically strong but it also helps to play with your brain. And socially it’s a great sport: after so many other sports we used to have a cup of tea and a sandwich but after squash you enjoy a proper meal and a small beer! At University I studied to be a Sports Teacher so to be working 50% in school and 50% with squash is the perfect combination of my two passions!
Frage 4: An den letzten Team Europameisterschaften bist du mit dem Schweizer Team sensationell in die Division 1 aufgestiegen. Wie stehen die Chancen dass ihr auch dort bleibt?
It was so exciting last year! The girls won all 5 matches against very tough opposition – all the matches were losable. This was a real example of squash as a team sport – they fought so hard for each other and someone always stood up and won an important match. I’m sure it cost me 5 years of my life! To stay in Division 1 will prove to be an enormous task - we play against Holland, Ireland and Germany in our group matches – but I know they will give everything they have...
Frage 5: Was sind deine Aufgaben als Nationaltrainer der Schweizer Damen? Wie viele Zusammenzüge habt ihr?
My first task, working with ladies, was to get a degree in diplomacy! (just joking!)... In simple terms the squad trains together 8 to 10 times a year and I accompany the team to the European Championships. But you can’t help but get much more involved than that. We’ve got to know each other pretty well over the last 7 years and sometimes I feel more like an uncle than a trainer! Like all of us, the girls all have their foibles but I’m fiercely protective of them and I get very involved in their matches when they play for Switzerland. I wish there was more time and resources for the job.
Frage 6: Mit Gaby Huber-Schmohl haben wir eine Schweizer Weltklassespielerin (momentan auf Position 30 der Welt). Wie weit kann sich Gaby noch verbessern in der Weltrangliste? Kann sie davon leben?
Gaby has worked so hard and deserves all the success she’s enjoying now. She’s an example to all the others, particularly in the way in which she’s worked on her all round game: her strengths, her weaknesses, the physical, the mental. All pieces of the jigsaw need attention. If she chooses to keep playing she can certainly keep improving! It takes time to toughen up and get used to travelling and playing alone and if her motivation remains she’ll come into her best ever time! She will certainly improve on her all-time high ranking of 29. You’ll have to ask her about the finances!