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Tuks ace Schepers keeping up the family tradition

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It might be said that Murray Schepers (Tuks) was born to play squash – something everyone in his family seems to be doing and doing pretty well.

In Eastern Cape squash, Port Elizabeth to be precise, the surname Bailey has become synonymous with the sport.

The Bailey sisters – Karen, Debbie and Michelle – have all impacted on the game at a national level. When in her prime Karen Bailey was ranked in the top 10 in South Africa.

Now Schepers is continuing the proud family tradition started by his mom, Karen, and his aunts and some of his uncles. He is currently South Africa’s second best junior player (Under-19) and is the No1 player at Tuks.

From 1 July it will be a case of going back to where it all started for him when Schepers represents Tuks in Port Elizabeth at the USSA Tournament. The first-year electrical engineering student is looking forward to the challenge. Last year the Tuks team finished second overall at the USSA’s and the women’s team won their competition.

Schepers used to be quite a good hockey player but it should be no surprise that he eventually ended up choosing squash.

In the last two years, he has represented Eastern Province at the Jarvis Cup Tournament, winning six out of the eight games he played in the B Section as the team’s No3 player. At last year’s Junior World Championships in New Zealand, he finished 34th. He has again been selected to represent South Africa at the Junior World Championships.

Schepers might be smallish in stature but has a fiercely competitive instinct. It’s something he credits to his mom and his aunts. Hinting that being aggressive on the court is something that comes naturally to everyone in his family.

‘Each player has his unique strong points and weaknesses. As I’m one of the shorter squash players, I use my speed as an advantage over taller players who might not be that quick. Many players chose to hold back and wait for their opponents to make a mistake. I like to push at it, upping the intensity, trying to force my opponent to err.’

According to Schepers, the main reason why he is addicted to playing squash is that no other sport incorporates some many different types of fitness.

‘Playing squash means you are using movement techniques of every part of your body. It is sort of like tennis, but tennis is more from side to side and front to back. Squash is much more unpredictable.

‘That is why you will find that the world’s foremost players will be doing anything that will help them improve on their fitness,’ explained the speedy Schepers, who is capable of running at a 3min 30sec a kilometre.

Photo: Schepers in training action, by Reg Caldecott


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