Westwood gets feathers flying with smashing start to mixed doubles career

Emily Westwood in action. Picture (c) Raphael Sachetat/Badmintonphoto
Emily Westwood in action. Picture (c) Raphael Sachetat/Badmintonphoto

She might not have been able to dethrone Chris and Gabby Adcock at this year’s English National Championships, but Hemel Hempstead’s Emily Westwood insists she is delighted with her first foray into mixed doubles.

The 21-year-old had never played in the mixed doubles at the tournament before, but was seeded second with new partner Harley Towler heading into the competition.

Defeat in the semi-finals to Lauren Smith and Gary Fox eventually spelled and end to hopes of a national title for the duo, but not before they edged out former World Number 1 Gail Emms and partner Matthew Nottingham in the quarters.

And, while Westwood believes her flourishing partnership with Towler can eventually prove fruitful, she knows it is a long road to the top.

“Obviously it was my first year of playing mixed doubles this year and we were seeded second to get to the final,” she said. “We lost in the semis but we had a good win in our quarter against Matt and Gail so that was good.”

“As a partnership we’re going in a really good direction; we’re both improving a lot on court, so as long as it keeps going that way I think the results should come.

“When we first started playing together we worked quite a lot on understanding each other and recognising what we do so we can work together towards our goals.

“I think we have a lot of potential and can continue to grow and develop as a partnership. We are working towards being the best and that’s what we want.”

For Westwood the next major event on the horizon is her bow at 105th Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships taking place in Birmingham, at the refurbished Barclaycard Arena, from March 3-8.

The tournament is the first Superseries Premier event of 2015, and Westwood is predicting a big year for her sport.

“The Commonwealth Games and the new National Badminton League are really raising the profile of the sport. Having the games on Sky is really exciting to watch as well. The crowds are really good,” she added.

“Some of the juniors that are coming up did quite well in the senior nationals and obviously we need people to feed through after the top players go, so I think it’s really important for them to learn what they can off the older ones.

“The sport is moving in the right direction, but for now I just need to concentrate on getting my game right.

“This year I’d like to win an International Challenge. I’ve got Austria two weeks from now but then the next three tournaments are more for experience.

“Realistically I’m not looking at Rio, I’m not on the tournament programme to go and where I’m at now, Tokyo would be my goal.”

Tickets for the Yonex All England 2015 are available at allenglandbadminton.co.uk or by calling the box office on 0844 444 9994.

To watch an interview with Westwood and Towler click here