Hong Kong's Annie Au shrugs off plunge in world squash rankings
Hong Kong number one Annie Au Wing-chi played down her plunge in the world rankings, saying she believed she had every quality to haul herself back into the world's top 10.
Just a year ago, Au reached a career high of sixth in the elite rankings, but she was 14th when the latest list was released this week.
"I have never doubted my skills and quality," said the 23-year-old. "Nowadays it is highly competitive in the top rankings, and if you fail in one or two major events, your ranking drops quickly. Only the top four are comparatively stable and the remaining players are always moving in and out of the top 10."
She cited Egyptian player Omneya Abdel Kawy, who was the world number four two years ago, but is now just one place ahead of Au.
Au became the first home player to reach the semi-finals at the 2011 Hong Kong Open and finished runner-up as a non-seed in the Kuala Lumpur Open in the first half of 2012. But since then, she has struggled to play to her seeding, only reaching the second round of the Australian Open, and losing in the first round of the US Open and also the 2012 Hong Kong Open.
Au won the Asian championship title last month, although, as a regional tournament, it does not count for world ranking points. However, in the British Open, also last month, she was eliminated by Joelle King of New Zealand in the second round.
Au said she did not expect to return to the top 10 in the immediate future as she would be playing few ranking tournaments this year. She has set her sights on the East Asian Games in Tianjin in October as the defending singles and team champion. "The EAG will clash with two top tournaments in the United States, which means I have less chance to grab ranking points," she said.
Au will be defending her Crocodile Hong Kong Championships title, along with men's title holder Max Lee Ho-yin, at the Squash Centre later this month. Top finishers will be given wild-card entries to the annual Hong Kong Open, a platinum event on the world circuit.