Hawke's Bay squash player Winona-Jo Joyce picked up some valuable tips along with four wins at the world junior teams championships which finished in Kuala Lumpur at the weekend.
The 18-year-old Havelock North A2 grader was a late replacement in the New Zealand side after Palmerston North's Kaitlyn Watts was forced to withdraw with a stomach virus which hindered her throughout the individual segment of the champs.
Despite arriving in Kuala Lumpur two days before the teams champs began Joyce recorded four wins and one loss for the Kiwis who finished 10th.
"I was quite proud of my performance. As a team we were hoping for a little bit more and it would have been really good to make the top eight. But considering the circumstances and it wasn't our full team it was a good effort."
Left hander Joyce, who was competing at her second world championships, was impressed with the professionalism of the Egyptians who beat hosts Malaysia 2-0 in the final.
"They were totally professional, particularly with their preparation and nutrition before and after a game. I don't normally eat that much after I play but after watching them I will have a banana or muesli bar straight after I play and that will help speed up the recovery process," Joyce explained.
New Zealand were seeded 11th and opened their campaign with a 3-0 loss to third seeds Hong Kong China. Joyce was beaten 3-0 by Lee Sum Yuet in this fixture.
She took 14 minutes to beat Hsiao Nai-Wen 3-0 when New Zealand defeated 18th seeds Chinese Taipei 3-0 in their next outing. The Technifibre-Focus Health Havelock North-Pay 2 Play-sponsored Joyce recorded another straight sets win against Alessia Osborne when New Zealand beat 13th seeds Ireland 3-0.
She didn't play when the Kiwis completed pool play with a 3-0 loss to sixth seeds India. New Zealand finished third in their pool behind Hong Kong China and India.
On day four Joyce didn't play in the Kiwis 2-1 loss to seventh seeds Canada. She had a 3-1 win against Mahe Asensi when New Zealand beat ninth seeds France 3-0.
On day five Joyce recorded another straight sets win against Taryn Emslie during the Kiwis 2-0 against the 15th seeded South Africans. She ranked the win against Osborne as the highlight of her campaign.
"Alessia was quite an aggressive and pushy player which made winning more enjoyable. While I am small I don't get a lot of opponents who try to push me around on court but I do get the odd person who does it," Joyce said.
Her next major tournament will be with the Eastern senior team at the Christchurch-hosted national teams event later this month.
Last month Joyce won the national under-19 title for the second time at the South Island junior age group championships in Christchurch and she hopes this success will prove to be a lucky omen for her when she returns to the South Island.