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TinneGilis

FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE GAME

I started playing squash when I was six-years old. My uncle owned a squash club and my mum taught there. So I joined the group sessions, and loved it.

When I was about 12, I started working with Ronny Vlassaks (Belgium head coach) and playing international junior tournaments. Through that partnership, I kept improving and rose to number 1 on the junior ranking.

I took part in the World Junior Championships for the first time when I was 15 and played Nour El Sherbini in the second round. Obviously I lost. But it gave me the motivation to go pro and try to be as good as her one day.

Physical and mental shape are both crucial in squash. But I think mental strength is more important. It’s a very mental game, and if you can’t handle the pressure, your body will fail you no matter how physically strong you are. You need to be 100% focused all the time and ready to handle whatever happens on court. Hard work and discipline is very important, but having the right mindset beats it all.

Squash simply never gets boring. There’s always something you can work on and you can challenge yourself in so many ways.

Hard work and discipline is very important, but having the right mindset beats it all. There’s always something you can work on and you can challenge yourself in so many ways.

Player Stats

18Highest Ranking
BelgiumCountry of Birth
29 October 1997Birthday
2014Turned Pro
5'6" / 169Height (ft/cm)
2PSA titles

Right handed

My best so far

Reaching the last 16 of the World Championships 2019 was special. Playing Nauran Gohar on the glass court in front of the Pyramids was an unforgettable experience.

I hope to play for as long as possible, keep improving and try to be the best in the world. Anything is possible if I work hard and keep the dedication and passion.

I love the European Team Championships, because it’s a team event. Win or lose, your team’s behind you no matter what. And you’re together all day, so you don’t feel alone.

Day in. Day out.

I aim for eight-hours sleep every day. It’s so important for recovery and to train at peak level. My daily routine includes at least one squash session, plus strength or endurance. If we’re preparing for a tournament, I do more squash and on-court fitness. Away from tournaments, we focus on getting stronger and fitter with off-court training.

Staying grounded

I’ve been traveling the world since I was a junior, so it’s very normal now. I know what I need on a day of traveling, to make everything as comfortable as possible and to recover after a flight.

And I love seeing the other players. We’re competitors on court. But off-court we’re one big family.

During lockdown I’ve been playing Padel with the family and I really enjoyed that mix between tennis and squash.

I’m very sociable, I like to have lunch or coffee with friends. I don’t really have other hobbies, but I’m always up for trying new things, new sports.

We’re competitors on court. But off-court we’re one big family.

My pro tips

Enjoy what you’re doing. It all starts with enjoyment. When you enjoy things, you’ll work harder for them. Sure, some days it feels like everything is against you. I’ve had very low days, but all those struggles made me who I am. Accept the hard times you go through they can only make you stronger.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Everybody is different and needs a different way of training. You, and only you, will figure out what you need to feel better and stronger, trust the journey.

When I have a bad day, I tell myself that even though it doesn’t feel good, all that work is still progress. A bad day yesterday, isn’t  a bad today.

I’m very competitive, I hate losing. Accepting a loss has always been so hard for me. I used to just leave the club straight away without changing shoes or my top. Even though it was freezing cold.

After a bad match or a loss, I take a few days off and do something that makes me happy. I’ll analyse what went wrong and work on these weaknesses. You never lose, you either win or you learn.

You, and only you, will figure out what you need to feel better and stronger, trust the journey. You never lose, you either win or you learn.

Tinne's Racket

Hyperfibre XT Revelation 125

A larger head size and a thicker aero beam packs more punch into your game. The extra headlight balance on this 125g racket gives this ultimate power and manoeuvrability.

View details

Dunlop pro players may play with different rackets to the model shown.

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