NORTHWICH’S Greg Mairs says he has learned what it takes to beat the best after breaking new ground at the English National Championships on Saturday.
The 19-year-old debutant had his hands full at the tournament in Milton Keynes – first when facing seven-time champion Rajiv Ouseph in the second round of the men’s singles.
Though his more experienced opponent proved too strong, Mairs made it through to the weekend’s play at stadium:mk by clinching quarter final berths in the doubles with partners Jennifer Moore and Michael Roe.
In the mixed pairs, number four seeds Gary Fox and Sophie Brown ended his challenge before meeting his match in Christopher Langridge and Peter Mills in the men’s competition.
“I was a bit patchy; there was some good stuff but it’s hard getting used to being in the quarter finals of the nationals when it was my first time,” said Mairs.
“The experience and atmosphere was different and I got going in parts but there were a lot of mistakes playing against superior opposition. They are another level really.”
It has been a year of change for Mairs; the former Sir John Deane’s Sixth Form College student is in his first year at Loughborough University and competing in his maiden season as a senior.
But he insists he is not looking for excuses as he redoubles his efforts to emerge in even better form for next season.
“Getting physically stronger and quicker is my ultimate aim,” he added.
“It’s my first year of seniors and it’s quite tough getting into it; I’ve played a few internationals and the gap is quite big from juniors.
“I’m playing twice a day at Uni as well as going to the gym. There are quite a few players there and it’s my first year – the level’s gone up already compared to back home."
Tickets for next month's Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships at the NIA in Birmingham are available from allenglandbadminton.com or by calling 0844 444 9994.