PAUL COLL has revealed that the breakthrough feats of new Eye Rackets stablemate Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Germany's Simon Rosner last season have made him even more determined to land his first major title this term.
The world number 10, who exclusively uses Eye Rackets V Lite 115 Control Paul Coll Signature racket, will start the new season this week in Shanghai, where Coll is seeded number four in the JP Morgan China Squash Open.
The PSA World Tour Gold Event will culminate on a state-of-the-art glass court on top of the spectacular Peninsula Shanghai Hotel and Coll could find both top seeded Rosner and number two seed Rodriguez blocking his path to the $120,000 top prize.
But speaking exclusively to Eye, Superman says the duo are serving as his inspiration and have proven that for him the sky is indeed the limit: "I can't wait for the China Open to get going this week. I really believe that the season ahead can be one of the most open in recent campaigns and a big part of that is what Miguel (Rodriguez) and Simon (Rosner) achieved last season," said Paul.
He continued: "I think when you look at what Miguel achieved at 32 years-old, in winning the British Open and beating (Mohamed) El Shorbagy in that epic 102 minute final and then with Simon Rosner winning The Tournament of Champions in January at 30 years-old, you have to believe, have to say why can't that be me?
"Both these guys had established themselves at the top end of the game and been there for a while and they kept knocking on the door and eventually it opened with a bang. For me that has really fired me up for the new season."
The likeable Coll also came very close to experiencing his own breakthrough moment in 2018 when he reached the final of the Commonwealth Games Squash championships only to find former world number one James Willstrop in irresistible form.
But despite becoming a victim of 'The Marksman' the Kiwi says he has learned lessons that will prove invaluable this season: "On the day James was just too good for me but I learned a lot from the experience and at 26 I know I have time to finish my unfinished business at the Commy Games," admitted PC.
He added: "What I would like to have changed is how I played in the semi with Joel Makin. I wasn't at my best and really had to dig deep to come through but with 106-minutes in your legs there was going to be a price to pay.
"So, both mentally and physically the experience of the Commy Games has helped me learn lessons that will stand me in good stead for the new season. But although it was disappointing to lose it was fantastic to make the final and almost surreal how I was treated back in New Zealand where it was like I was a winner even although I lost.
"Believe me nothing has made me more determined to go back-in-black next time round and go all the way!"
The Eye star put the final touches to his preparations for The China Squash Open, last week at Pontefract Squash Club with a little help from former another English former world number one Lee Beachill and Paul revealed: "Although I'm based in Holland and do most of my work there under my head coach Tommy Berden, for the last 12-months I have been spending short training blocks with Lee at Pontefract.
"Basically we identified areas in my game I need to improve if I'm going to take the next step, break the top-five and hopefully land a major title. In that respect I'm really pleased with how last week's camp went and now it's just about bringing that all to bear in Shanghai this week."
If you want to find out more about Superman checkout Paul's new column 'Up, Up & Away!' packed full of insight and comment at http://paulcoll.com
By RJ Mitchell