Hey, I'm Olivia Blatchford,
professional squash player, avid reader, aspiring yogi, and curious mind. My journey in squash began at the age of five, when my father dragged me to one of his amateur tournaments and I sat mesmerized as he competed. Afterwards I asked him when it was my turn, and with a smile on his face he handed me his racket and said “right now.” I would say the rest was history but that wouldn't be completely true or all that fun a story to tell.
From that day on I was a squash player, my father taking me to the Downtown Athletic Club on the lower west side of Manhattan on the weekends to practice and then after a while to junior tournaments scattered up and down the east coast. Squash took on a life of its own for me as I began traveling abroad to compete. In 2004 I competed in my first British Junior Open, the World Championships of age groups, a junior Wimbledon of sorts. That year squash exploded for me in the form of talented young Egyptians, fluid moving Malaysians and charismatic technical Brits. The next years I strived to become part of that top tier of competing juniors with dreams forming of one day playing on the professional tour. In the year 2007, I was on the edge of turning 14 when I won the British Open Girls u15 division, also going on the make the u19 U.S Junior National Team that would head to Hong Kong later that year. A myriad of things came from those two things; the realization that my hopes of becoming a professional player were not necessarily crazy and also that it would be awfully hard to keep that up. And it was very hard to keep that up. The rest of my junior career was a rollercoaster of ups and downs; unfortunately I was plagued greatly by my own expectations and fear of failure which eventually lead to an 8 month break where I began coaching at the Chelsea Piers in Stamford Connecticut while taking time to decide where I'd be headed in my life next. Coaching was a very cathartic experience for me and as I coached players in their relationships with the game I found my own relationship healing, my desire to return to competition growing and growing. When I finally decided to return to the Professional tour I was greeted with an amazing strike of luck in the form of U.S Squash’s introduction of funding for their professional players of which I qualified for by 1 ranking spot. The elite athlete program has been everything to my career and without U.S Squash’s support playing professionally would not be possible.
I want my experience with squash to be as holistic as possible, as connected to the ground as possible. Squash is a sport unlike any other and it asks more of its players everyday in a completely new way. I want to continue to grow, both as a squash player and as a person, to show the game the respect it deserves in my mission to pursue experiencing squash at its most exciting and excellent level. I'd love to see squash as an Olympic sport and for its players to be recognized in the way they deserve and maybe one day find myself standing underneath the U.S Flag as our anthem is played….