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Milja talks to WSR about her career and life playing squash

1. When and why did you start to play squash?
I was 2 years old when my parents were managers of a squash and tennis center, that’s when I began playing squash. But it was just for fun. When I was about 11 years old I began playing tournaments. At that time I trained once a week...

2. When did you play in your first competition?
When I was 14 I began playing in the adult league.
3. Your best result so far?
I have just played in the Dutch Championships and came 4th, that’s the best result I have had in 2 years. I am also Dutch Champion under 23, but becoming no. 4 was more difficult and nobody expected it...
4. Do you enjoy any other racket sports?
Yes, I also play tennis in the summer, as much as I can. Every sport is nice, if you have the time to do it... In the summer holidays we (my father, brother and me) always go windsurfing!
5. If you had not played squash professionally, what other sport would you have taken up?
Probably tennis, I began playing tennis at 7, but chose squash when I was 11 years old.
6. Did you enjoy squash straight away or did it take you a while to realize that this was the sport for you?
I always enjoyed playing squash, only in the beginning squash wasn't the only sport. I did gymnastics, twirling, ballet, skiing and tennis.

7. Who encouraged you to take up the sport?
My father. He has always been a very supportive man. He never pushed me to do anything, but he is my big example
8. Do you ever get stressed traveling around so much?
No never! I love travelling! Especially when I’m outside Europe. I like to see a lot! Go to the dessert, to the sea, to the city, everything.
9. How does the game differ from the Men's game, ie games played, money etc
Men’s matches take much longer, because they are quicker and stronger, that’s why they play more balls to the back corners, then the rally’s are longer. Another difference is of course the prize money. Men always win more money then the women
10. Have you ever had any major injuries ?
No, major injuries. I twisted my ankle once, but I recovered well and it never occured again. I pulled my hamstrings once, but that also never occured again
11. Can you earn good money or do you have to rely on Sponsorship?
You can only earn good money if you’re in the top 10. I think everybody else has to rely on sponsorship.
15. What do you enjoy doing when you are not playing squash?
I don’t play that much, but if I have a lot of tournaments after each other, I enjoy taking a day off, and I go to the sauna.

"Get discipline: I’m still learning about this one, but I realise you’ll never get further without it"
12. Do you enjoy any other sports?
I enjoy playing tennis, windsurfing, skiing, actually I like almost everything.
13.How do you feel last season went?
Last season I didn’t improve a lot. I had to work between 20-30 hours a week, so that I could keep playing squash. I’m still living with my parents, otherwise I would have to work fulltime. This is why I’m not playing fulltime.

14. What are your thoughts for 2005?
Good thoughts. I hope I will get in the Dtch team to go to the Europeans. We have already played the Dutch Championships where I came 4th! And I would like to play more Wispa tournaments, so that I will get my ranking higher.
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