Trafford-Born Wildcard Saran Nghiem Looking To Utilise Harvard Squash Experience

Manchester-born World No.68 Saran Nghiem has once again been named as the women’s wildcard for the Manchester Open, a PSA World Tour Silver event taking place between the 22-26 May at the National Squash Centre.

20-year-old Nghiem will be travelling back from the USA to play the event as she is currently studying at the prestigious Harvard University. Nghiem received a squash scholarship in 2022 which has allowed her to receive a top class education whilst also improving her squash game under the tutelage of well-respected Head Coach, Mike Way.

Earning the wildcard spot in the Manchester Open is of special significance to Nghiem as the venue is the same club where she first started playing squash and she can’t wait to come home to feature in the event once again.

“I’m very happy to receive the wildcard spot again,” said Nghiem.

“The National Centre is the club where I first picked up a racket and my family still lives not too far from the venue so it’s the perfect opportunity to come back and experience a world tour event. I’m over the moon to get to play again.”

Since featuring in last years event, Nghiem has gone from strength to strength on the squash court, rising 30 places in the PSA World Rankings as well as picking up three PSA titles. She also became the College Squash Association Individual National Champion in November, following in the footsteps of England No.1 and World No.6 Georgina Kennedy, who achieved the same accolade in 2020.

“I put in a lot of hard work last summer and throughout the season at college. I think I’ve added some little changes to my game and having another season of playing high level squash in the USA has been a great experience. My confidence is a lot higher going into this year, as I’ve had a good season so far and I’m feeling good on court.”

Nghiem is about to end her second year at Harvard and admits that after a period of adjustment, she is now benefiting from all that Harvard Squash has to offer and couldn’t be more grateful to her teammates.

“It was an adjustment to balance studies and squash at first, the work is tough and I don’t get many opportunities in the season to play PSA events. I love it though, there’s a lot of support in different areas that I had never had before, such as nutrition, psychology and physio. These have all helped me so much.

“I’m surrounded by teammates both in the men’s and women’s team who want to train hard and push each other every day. I’m very lucky to get on court with the guys in my year and that has been really beneficial to my squash. All in all, everything at Harvard has just helped me grow up in general.”

Nghiem claimed the biggest PSA title of her career at the start of last month, a Challenger 15 event in St. Louis, Missouri. Despite this being a great win for the 20-year-old, Nghiem is desperate to be featuring in World Tour events more often.

“Playing on the World Tour is definitely one of my goals for the near future. I want to start playing the bigger tournaments and getting on court with the top guys to learn from them. It is a big motivation to be able to get this opportunity in Manchester.”

“My season so far has been great. Individually, I’ve had some big college wins and I’m excited for more of that in my junior year. As a team, we didn’t quite get the result we would have hoped for but I still loved being part of the team. I achieved my biggest title to date last month, and have been progressing into bigger tournaments and I’m feeling good about my squash, so it would be amazing to end my season playing well in front of my friends and family in Manchester.”

Nghiem’s will take on compatriot Alicia Mead in her opening match on Wednesday 22nd May at 17:30.

Live action from the tournament will be streamed via SQUASHTV while the semi-finals and finals will be shown by TNT Sports.

Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

For more information on the Manchester Open, visit the tournament website or follow the PSA on TwitterFacebookInstagramYouTube and TikTok.