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Josh aiming for more improvement after ‘consistent’ year of progress

DESPITE suffering a disappointing end to his year with a first round elimination at the YONEX Italian International, the youngest of the Magee siblings is happy with his year.

Twenty-four year-old Josh fell to a 21-19, 4-21, 22-20 reverse at the hands of Belgian qualifier, Julien Carraggi last week in Milan to conclude an exhausting season that has seen him visit no fewer than 14 different countries.

Now, though, he intends to put his feet up for the remainder of 2018 before knuckling down for the new season at the turn of the year, which will start with a bang in February with the National Championships, followed immediately by the European Mixed Team Championships in Denmark.

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After that break, Josh’s immediate target is claiming a fifth doubles title at the National’s alongside Paul Reynolds as their partnership continues to develop, while individually he is aiming to take on Irish number one, Nhat Nguyen in the singles final once more.

After that he will team up with Reynolds, Nguyen, Sara Boyle, his siblings Sam and Chloe and niece Rachael Darragh for Ireland at the European’s where they face a tough task to get out of their group, which includes England, Russia and Germany.

Regardless of that draw, having improved his own game and levels of consistency year on year, having qualified for the Euro’s through a tough group that included Bulgaria and Finland, Josh is looking to the future with confidence after a positive year.

“I’ve had a few good results this year, the Irish team getting to the Euro’s, getting to two semi-finals in Lithuania and I got to the last-16 in the SaarLux Open [in Germany], are definite high points,” beamed the Raphoe man.

“The SaarLux was good because it is a really high level tournament, it’s Super 100, so there were a lot of the top players in the world there. I got through two rounds in the singles there and through a round of the doubles, which is good for us.”

Reaching the latter stages of the bigger tournaments is something Josh has been aiming to do regularly over the last few seasons and now he has started to achieve that in singles and doubles, he hopes that trend continues next season.

However, in 2019 he’d like to push on and progress to finals on a regular basis and he believes the confidence gained from winning matches can only help him achieve that aim.

“Getting through the rounds gives you more confidence and that boosted the performances at the Irish Open and in Wales,” he explained.

“In the Irish, we got to the quarter-finals of the doubles and unfortunately I was knocked out in the first round of the singles by the seventh seed and in Wales the week after, we got semi-finals in the doubles and I reached the quarter-finals in the singles.

“It was good to get some wins again, especially in the singles and then the doubles was really good, we really upped our performances.

“It was good to get through two rounds in Wales, it showed I’ve become more consistent, which I feel I have been throughout the year.

“I think I’ve improved since last year, I’m getting more consistent, getting results, semis and quarters and hopefully in a year’s time I’ll be getting semis and finals, that’s the progression hopefully.

“I think over the last few tournaments with Ireland, and at the Irish and in Wales, it was much better.

“I’m starting to figure out what’s working for me, off court as well – what’s working in the gym, what’s helping my footwork on the court, what’s making me move better and my attitude on the court is better,” he concluded.

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