RORY STEWART’S Wikipedia page reveals that he is “sometimes mistaken for” the British politician who shares his name. Not if you ever run into him in person.

This Rory Stewart is a 23-year-old squash player from Perth. He’s tall, almost gangly, for a sport that requires its athletes to navigate a tight space without running into walls or bumping into their opponents. His 6ft 4 frame is more reminiscent of a basketball player or footballer, while his languid, easy-going manner is a refreshing change from many of his media-trained, process-driven peers.

It’s working for him, too. Stewart is ranked 120th in the world and recently appeared in his first Scottish national championship final where dogged veteran Alan Clyne proved too strong as he claimed a tenth title.

Stewart is honest enough to admit his path to that final was eased somewhat by the non-appearance of Scottish number one Greg Lobban, who withdrew with injury following an event in London at which he claimed the scalp of the former world number one.

Squash, like just about every sport, has now gone into cold storage but the challenge for Stewart once it returns is how to force his way into a duopoly that has dominated the men’s game in Scotland for some time now.

Clyne may be 33 years old but is showing no signs of slowing down, while 27 year-old Lobban – the world number 27 – appears to be approaching his peak. Stewart knows he will have his work cut out to shift either of them but is not daunted by the prospect.

“The two of them have been a massive inspiration for me in my career,” he admits. “And hopefully I’m the next one in line to try to push them all the way.

“I moved to Edinburgh when I was 18 when Greg was still based there. And since those days he’s gone up and up and up in the rankings. Alan’s been at the top for so long now. It just shows how consistent he’s managed to be year after year.

“But now it’s up to me to try to get to that level too. There’s a lot of work ahead for me but I have to hope I can keep improving if stick at it.

“It was good to reach my first national final. I’d reached the semis a few times before that and played Alan every time. Unfortunately Greg had to withdraw this year because of injury but that made my path to the final a little bit easier.

“I enjoyed the experience even if the result didn’t go my way. Alan is a proper competitor. That was his tenth time winning it and he didn’t give me anything. But I enjoyed it and I’ll look forward to more of the same.”

Growing older and adapting to the demands of the sport have also helped improve his mindset, along with a bit of external help.

“My season has been a bit up and down,” added Stewart. “I’ve had a few good results and a couple of shockers. It’s been a steep learning curve for me. In the past I’ve maybe dwelled on bad results for far too long which then had a knock-on effect for weeks or months.

“But I’ve matured this season when it comes to reacting to failure. I’ve had a lot of help from Mary McClung who’s a sports performance psychologist – big shout out to Mary! We’ve worked closely together over the last 18 months and I’d like to think that’s helped me a lot.”

With squash continuing to be bafflingly excluded from the Olympic programme, the Commonwealth Games remains the pinnacle achievement for those playing the sport.

Stewart was too young for Glasgow 2014 and didn’t make it to Gold Coast but is now eager to make his mark in Birmingham in 2022.

“Glasgow came around too soon for me and then I just missed out in 2018 so I’d definitely love to be at Birmingham and hopefully push for a medal too," he said. “It would have been nicer to get to have gone to Australia I suppose! But at least if it’s England all my family and friends will be able to watch me compete. So that’s a big target of mine now.”

In the meantime, he is waiting to see when squash gets the green light to get going again.

“I had a trip planned to go to the States so that fell through,” he revealed. “I bought my flights just a few days before it all went bottoms up so I had to get all that sorted through my insurance.

“I just have to keep trying to find places to train while I can so that I’m fit and ready whenever they tell us it’s safe to start competing again.”