Dublin win starts thrilling week for McAlpine
Robyn McAlpine's Irish Junior Open Under-19 victory marked the start of a very exciting week for the 17-year-old from Glasgow.
Top seed McAlpine beat her fellow Scot Louisa Kaven 12-10 11-6 11-8 in Sunday's final at Sutton Lawn Tennis Club in Dublin to add to a stellar list of achievements so far this year.
She will return to school this week and also play in the Northern Joe Cup, a $9,000 PSA Tour event in Manchester. She will then head to a glittering ceremony on Friday night (24th November) where she is nominated for the Young Sportswoman of the Year award at the 2023 Scottish Women in Sport awards.
Then, three days later, she will put on her ballgown once again as she is also nominated for the Young Sportsperson of the Year at Glasgow Sport Awards at the Emirates Arena!
The award nominations are the result of an incredible year for McAlpine, who is based at Scotstoun. She became the first female junior to win the Scottish U17, U19 and U23 titles in the same season, captained the Scotland team at the World Junior Team Championships in Melbourne, played for Scotland's senior team in the European Team Championships in Helsinki and won her first PSA Satellite title in Sweden, as well as reaching a final in Milan.
"It was great to get another win at the Irish Junior Open, especially now I'm playing in the U19s," said McAlpine, who won the U17 title there last season.
"It's certainly the start of a busy week - but I tend to take it all in my stride! Being nominated for awards definitely motivates me to keep training harder and achieve more."
McAlpine, who is ninth in the European U19 rankings, was quick to praise the role that the ESF junior circuit has played in her development.
"I've gained a lot of experience from playing lots of different tournaments on the European circuit," she said. "Playing different players from lots of countries definitely helps me gain experience and come up against a variety of playing styles. It also helps with getting used to the travelling, being away from home and doing my school work while being away.
"I started playing the European circuit aged 12 and wasn't winning trophies at that stage. But after Covid I started putting in a lot more training and started seeing more improvements. That's when I started pushing those top European players. You feel yourself move up a level and get used to it."
With the likes of Egypt's Amina Orfi - over a year younger than her - already reaching the world top 20, McAlpine is well aware she has much more hard work ahead of her. But, the incredible news of squash's inclusion at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics has given her more than enough motivation.
"From a young age I guess I've always accepted that I'm never going to be able to play in the Olympics - so when I found out about LA 2028, it changed everything.
"I've got a five-year training plan in place, and I know who I need to beat in order to get into the GB team. It's something I'm going to work really hard to achieve."
Elsewhere in the draws at last weekend's Irish Junior Open, 5/8 seed Welshman Evan Davies-Clarke was a surprise winner of the boys' u19 title, coming from a game down to beat Scotland's Oliver Hunter 8-11 11-2 12-10 11-6.
Spain's Marc Altarriba conquered home hope Conal Jackson 11-1 11-5 11-8 as the two top seeds met in the boys' U17 final, while Ireland's Sara Sabry didn't drop a single game as she swept to the girls' U17 title, toppling Scotland's Ella Bannister 11-9 11-5 11-8 in the final.
There was more home success in the girls' U15 and U13 categories through top seed Zoe Yeomans and Rebecca Day respectively, while France's Theo Baudry won a marathon five-setter against Scotland's Murdo McKenzie in the boys' U15 final and Spain's Rafael Rodriguez Segovia was victorious in a rapid boys' U13 showpiece against Irishman Michael Lai.