Georgia Adderley wants world number one spot after putting faith in squash over football

With every result logged for posterity and each training session measured for quality, it would be easy for someone like Georgia Adderley to get wrapped up in one single aspect of her personality. Yet she’s so much more than just an elite squash player with ambitions to become World No.1 and win a Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Team Scotland's Georgia Adderley beats Emma Keane of Bermuda during the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.Team Scotland's Georgia Adderley beats Emma Keane of Bermuda during the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Team Scotland's Georgia Adderley beats Emma Keane of Bermuda during the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

A person of faith, a deep thinker revelling in the extra brainpower freed up by graduating from part-time student to full-time athlete, Adderley is refreshingly honest about what she gets from believing in something bigger than herself. Sitting courtside at Oriam, as the conversation drifts from her Christianity to the nomadic lifestyle that goes with playing on a truly global tour, the 22-year-old doesn’t dissent when it’s suggested that she could easily feel a little rootless at times.

“Yeah, totally,” said Adderley, the Team Scotland rising star adding: “And it can be lonely. It can be lonely to travel. And losing is really hard. But every single athlete loses. Having that identity rooted in something else, other than your success, is really helpful. That doesn’t mean that being successful doesn’t matter. But it has another layer to it. That’s one of the reasons why I spend time in my week making sure I focus on my faith.”

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Adderley, who says her beliefs were strengthened dramatically during lockdown, is an engaging and energetic interviewee. The sort of person who takes a subject and runs with it. Without ever seeming to lose track of herself. Ask if she’s evangelical about spreading the word, for instance, and she provides an answer that speaks to a traditional Scottish reserve in matters of faith.

“That’s an interesting question,” she said. “I don’t shy away from those conversations. I’m not the one to bring it up but, if someone asks me a question, I kind of like it. It allows me to explain it, makes me think about my own faith as well. I’m really happy for people to ask me any questions about it.

“There are so many questions. People who have a faith also have questions, remember, and that’s totally normal. It’s a huge part of my life, has been for my whole life, but it grew during Covid. The big thing now is I feel gratitude for what I do, being able to play the game I love.”

Rather famously, Adderley’s first sporting love wasn’t always squash. A good enough footballer to represent Scotland up to Under-17 level while breaking into the Spartans first-team squad, she was always one of those kids who enjoyed all sorts of activities and the support of mum and dad Miranda and Mark.

Explaining the route she’s taken to a point just inside the world’s top 50, she revealed: “I played football for Spartans and they’re a phenomenal club. The reason my parents chose that for me was because they actually had a girls’ set- up.

“My first ever competitive football match, we played against a boys’ team and we lost 26-0. We got absolutely demolished. But we had great fun. From that point on, Spartans grew and grew – and now they’re established in the Premier League, giving contracts to players. That club was exceptional, and I never really thought about moving.

“I finally got into the ladies’ team in my final year of playing football. At 15 I started training with them – and there were great players, players who would go on to represent Scotland at senior level.

“As a kid, I did hockey, judo … and my dad always played squash. I remember going down to support him in his league games from very early on, down at Edinburgh Squash Club. I made banners and things like that. So I kind of got into squash through him, just watching for years. One day he asked if I wanted to jump on. That was that.

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"To be honest, the issue of having to pick one sport was in the back of my head from about 12, when I started representing Scotland at squash. I loved it. And, at that time, there wasn’t a Scotland Under-13s football team for girls. There just wasn’t. That’s just the way the set-up is.

“I was starting to get invited to under-15 camps. But I had to decide because, for ages, football was the one. I developed so quickly at squash that I had to make a choice. It was quite a stressful time.

“I kept playing both, thinking I could put it off and enjoy both – then I picked up an injury from overload when I was about 16. I was just doing too much. It was chaos. I never took a rest day. That’s what I’ve learned from that, to take a rest.

“I was in the gym two mornings a week. Then, every evening, I had squash or football. And two evenings a week I had both. Then at the weekend I had one football match and one squash tournament, wherever it was. I had to start picking between them.

“That was hard. I didn’t think they should both suffer because I couldn’t choose one. My mentality towards squash was more of a performance mentality. I knew that I wanted to be the best in the world, I guess.”

Such lofty goals needn’t be out of reach for someone who has absolutely immersed herself in a discipline she likens to boxing, with its one-on-one combat, hastening to add: “Although you’re not punching the opponent, obviously.”

Hooked on the tactics and technique it takes to reach the top, intrigued by the certainty that she’ll still be learning things about the game until the day she stops playing, Adderley is absolutely focused on those long-term goals. Having graduated with a degree in sports science from the University of Edinburgh, covering her final year on a part-time basis, she isn’t exactly taking life easy.

“The biggest thing is having more brain space to fully engage in improving, to become the best player I can be,” said the 22-year-old, grinning as she added: “I wouldn’t say I studied that much, to be honest. But, when I did, I was really focused and organised.

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“Just being done, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I feel like I’ve got more head space to engage in squash, do the little things well, eat a bit better because I have more time, do more video analysis, all the off-court stuff.

“We’re supported by Sport Scotland Institute of Sport. Paul Bell is my coach, he’ll work with me daily, and we have performance lifestyle support, nutrition, strength and conditioning, physio … it’s phenomenal.

“I feel so lucky to have that. I know that athletes in other parts of the world definitely don’t have the kind of support we get from the Institute. I’m really trying to utilise all of that – access to physiology as well, I forgot about that – to my advantage, to get that extra level of success.

“We’re going to leave no stone unturned. If I can say I gave absolutely everything, at the end of my career, I’ll be happy. By the end of 2023 I want to be top 40. By the end of this season I’m aiming for top 30 in the world.

“Going forward, I want to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal. Obviously we don’t know what’s happening with 2026 yet. But that’s a big goal.

"I was lucky enough to go to Birmingham as part of Team Scotland last year and I gained so much valuable experience from it. It helped develop me as a person and an athlete. I’ve taken huge things from it. Seeing Greg (Lobban) and Rory (Stewart) win a bronze medal (in the men’s doubles) made me so inspired for 2026.

“I really want a Games gold medal at some point in my career. There’s nothing like representing Scotland, to be honest. And doing it in a multi-sport environment is especially awesome.

“Ultimately, I want to be world No. 1 and I’m not scared to say it. That’s the goal, that’s the dream. Every day, I’m working towards getting there.”

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In a schedule that has taken her to Paris, Qatar and North America this year, the chance to play on home soil – Adderley is the top seeded woman for the Springfield Scottish Squash Open, a PSA Challenger Tour event coming to Inverness from September 20-24 – will be something of a relief.

Laughing at her own impatience when globetrotting in pursuit of victories and ranking points, she admitted: “Oh, airport security drives me nuts. I’m standing there thinking: ‘Why have you left your laptop in your bag? You know it has to go through separately.’ Everything annoys me!

“But it’s loads of travel, from France, the Middle East, back to Scotland, then to the States. It’s going to be brilliant competing in front of a home crowd at Inverness, in the middle of all that.”

The Springfield Scottish Squash Open takes place September 20-24 at the Inverness Tennis and Squash Club. Tickets and live streaming at

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