Her youthful looks and slight frame belie her age. But 27-year-old Jenny Duncalf has a sharp brain when it comes to squash, evident from the list of the latest WISPA rankings where she is No. 2. At the Games, Jenny will be hoping to put in some powerful performances, along with the rest of the English players.
England have fielded one of the strongest squash squads, with seven players among the world's top 10. Alison Waters is No. 4 and Laura Massaro is seventh. Among the men, world No. 2 Nick Matthew will lead the squad, James Willstrop is No. 4, Peter Barker is eighth, and Daryl Selby is 10th. So it doesn't surprise when Jenny says the country has realistic chances of winning medals.
“Obviously, my biggest competitor will be Nicol David. She is the top player and the favourite to win. Some Australians are also in the running. Then, there is Madeline Perry (Ireland),” says Jenny.
She will also play mixed doubles (with James Willstrop) and the duo has been seeded fifth. “This will be the first Commonwealth for James and me as a team. We have played two tournaments together. We're fairly confident of challenging for medals," she says. In women's doubles, she will partner Alison.
The squash team has been practising at the Siri Fort Sports Complex and Jenny is impressed with the venue. “We were pleasantly surprised. The courts are fabulous. We hope there will be a good crowd,” she says.
Apart from a few mosquitoes in the Village, Jenny has had no problems. The squash players are seen every evening, dressed in red and white tracksuits, with games kits slung over their shoulders, or playing a game of pool in the Games room.
Passionate about sports, Jenny enjoys watching football, hockey, badminton and tennis. A Liverpool supporter, she respects Steffi Graf and loves watching Roger Federer because “he's so classy”.
Off-court, the music buff likes checking out concerts and festivals. “I bought a piano around two years back. But it is collecting dust in my living room. Maybe, I should play it more often,” she says. But as she rushed for training by the team manager, the racquet cancels out the black-and-white keys.
For now, it is back to squash.