PRO-file: Aisling Blake


Aisling Blake:
Bay Club San Francisco

The first person I ever hit a squash ball with was probably one of my brothers—I have three—under duress on their part I’m sure.

There are great similarities in the competitiveness and camaraderie at tournaments in the U.S. and Ireland. The difference here is the emphasis placed on ranking and university places. The pool here is so much bigger and growing continuously, so it’s an exciting time to be coaching squash in the States.

My most memorable win on the pro tour is beating then world No. 10 Camille Serme in China to make a breakthrough at the higher-tier events.

Every now and again I dust off my racquet for a competition. I miss the adrenaline high of winning a close match, the rush as you realize you’ve actually done it. Sometimes you have to look at your opponent and the ref just to make sure. I do not miss the smaller details of traveling, scheduling flights, looking at which events to play

When coaching, you are no longer thinking about just yourself, your game and diet and match preparation. It’s time to pass it on, to be more selfless.

I don’t drink Guinness. It’s like having a meal and a half for me. I hear it’s much better tasting in Ireland so one must travel to Ireland to truly appreciate a Guinness. I haven’t lived in Ireland for a while, and in San Francisco it’s more about the restaurants than the bars. I need to find a good Irish restaurant here. I have yet to try Buena Vista in San Francisco, the purported home of Irish coffee, but I definitely plan to check it out.

Off the court I spend time with friends, have dinners out and explore San Francisco and its surrounding areas. The coast here is beautiful. I liked the ruggedness of the Irish coast where I grew up, but I disliked the rain that produced said ruggedness and greenery.

I would love to have played squash against Liz Irving. She was my coach when I was on tour, but by that time she had stopped playing. I would have liked to get properly shown the court by her as she was a world No. 2.