Greg Lobban: Scot says he has 'a long way to go' despite rise to world 19

Greg Lobban
Greg Lobban won doubles bronze at the Commonwealth Games

Scottish Squash Open

Dates: Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September

Coverage: Watch on BBC Sport website & app

Greg Lobban will become the first Scot in 15 years to be ranked in the world's top 20 but says he has "a long way to go" before being mentioned in the same breath as Peter Nicol and John White.

Nicol won multiple medals at world and Commonwealth level, while former world number one White was the last Scot to be ranked in the global top 20 when he was 15th in December 2008.

31-year-old Lobban, who hails from Inverness, should rise to 19th when the latest rankings are published next week.

"I think I have got a long way to go until I am mentioned in the same category as these guys," he told BBC Scotland. "Peter Nicol was one of the greatest in the game, John White wasn't far away from him, so it is nice to be mentioned alongside Scottish greats like that. But it is just nice to do it for squash in Scotland - to get someone finally in the top 20 again.

"I really do feel we have got the players to be knocking on the door of the top 20 and beyond, so for me to do it - it puts me to 19 now - it puts me in a pretty good position to push on this year."

'Not the typical athlete'

Lobban's "huge milestone" comes after his run to the Qatar Classic quarter-finals - the first time he had made the last eight at one of the sport's major championships - but he is pragmatic about his chances of rising much further.

"I guess I am not the typical athlete," he admits. "I wouldn't put it as a champion's mindset in terms of I feel I can be in the top eight at these events every time, I am a bit of a realist.

"I would love it to be week in, week out, but I don't really believe that is going to happen. My target might be top 15 potentially in a few months' time and, who knows, top 10 is a long way away from 19."

Lobban and Rory Stewart, currently ranked 44th, were Scotland's first Commonwealth Games squash medallists for 24 years when they won bronze in the men's doubles in Birmingham last summer.

However, the Covid pandemic threatened to derail Lobban's progress, making his latest rise all the more sweeter.

"I think I was 21st when Covid hit," he recalled. "I had beaten two top 20 players in a tournament.

"When you get a big breakthrough like that, the next six months are important to really stabilise that ranking. Because Covid hit, I didn't get the chance to do that."

Watch the Scottish Squash Open on the BBC Sport website and app on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September