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Inverness squash star Greg Lobban contemplated retirement during the pandemic

Greg Loban. Image by Steve Cubbins.
Greg Loban. Image by Steve Cubbins.

Greg Lobban has never been in love with squash but his idiosyncratic marriage to the sport has survived to the Commonwealth Games.

The Inverness star returns for a third medal tilt on Team Scotland having come close to quitting squash when competition was halted due to Covid-19.

The PSA World Tour is now back in full swing and the 29-year-old’s competitive juices are flowing again, just in time for Birmingham.

“I’m not someone who’s always been in love with squash and that might be a weird thing to say,” said Lobban.

“I’m in love with competing. I really struggled with not having competitions every week and something to aim for.

“I feel like I’m in a much better place now and it’s great that we’re back. The Games have come at a good time.

“It’s easy to get excited about a Commonwealth Games, isn’t it? There’s a different buzz about the place and I’m as excited as I was in 2014.”

Greg Lobban in action for Scotland against Hong Kong.

Lobban’s favourite TV show is ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’ with Ant Middleton and his sporting idol is Sir Andy Murray – he is hard-wired to compete.

The pandemic-enforced pause in international play nearly drove Lobban to retirement.

“I definitely questioned [his future],” said the 29-year-old. “I’ve got a different relationship with my sport to most people, so when the competition stopped, I started looking around for what else would excite me.

“The fact the sport came back when it did was great. I thought [about retiring] a bit but it came back when I needed it.

“All athletes are wired to be competitive in anything we do. I always knew I wanted to be in intense, high-pressure situations and that comes with being competitive.

“It’s my personality and something I can’t really do anything about. Even after I retire, I’ll always strive to get better every day.”

Lobban rode the wave of a home crowd at Glasgow 2014 and finished in the last 16 of the men’s singles event.

The Edinburgh-based star has had his fair share of near misses, tearing his hamstring when two points from victory at the 2016 Chicago Open.

He was heartbroken after missing out on a doubles medal on the Gold Coast four years alongside Alan Clyne, losing the bronze medal match to English rivals.

Lobban is heading to Birmingham in fine form having won men’s silver and mixed bronze at April’s 2022 World Doubles Championships in Glasgow.

This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will comprise over 250 athletes, and having secured his place on the squad, Lobban is looking for medal success.

“I’ve soaked up the experience before and now I’m here to deliver,” he said.

“We punched above our weight by winning medals at the World Championships and those performances breed confidence heading into this summer.”

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