Nicol David, seen here conducting a coaching clinic for kids last month, reckons the pressure on her to win the British Open is lesser than in previous years.
PETALING JAYA: With no pressure on her this year, world No.1 Nicol David is looking forward to having a good run at the prestigious British Open, which will be held in Hull from May 10-18.
Last year, the 30-year-old Nicol went to the British meet, which was held outdoors for the first time at Hull City’s KC Stadium, as the defending champion and the world champion.
Although Nicol did well to make the final, she was thumped by world No. 2 Laura Massaro, who became the first Englishwoman since Lisa Opie in 1991 to win the title.
Nicol, who has also surrendered her world crown last month – after losing to Egyptian sensation Nour El Sherbini in the semi-finals, believes that the pressure will not be so high on her to win.
“It’s great that the pressure is not on me this time ... I can probably enjoy myself more and enjoy the game more,” said Nicol, who was back in Malaysia last week for the Women@Work forum during the Malaysian Open WTA championship.
“I’m already working on my preparation programme for the British meet and I have been back on the courts for a while already.
“It’s definitely nice to get back on my feet after the Penang defeat... I can’t wait for the results of the training to show.
“I’ve also seen the draw ... it’s just as I had expected and it is a good sign that this year’s British meet will be very interesting indeed.”
The Penangite will start against a qualifier in the first round before facing 16th seed Sarah-Jane Perry next.
Also in Nicol’s half of the draw are world No. 4 Joelle King of New Zealand, world No. 5 Alison Waters of England and world No. 6 Camille Serme of France.
National No. 2 Low Wee Wern is also in the fray and is seeded seventh. She too will face a qualifier in the first round before clashing with World Championship runner-up Nour next.
Nicol, meanwhile, is excited that the British meet has increased the prize money for the women’s meet from US$95,000 (RM310,000) to US$100,000 (RM327,000) – thus making it one of the richest tournament in the women’s Tour apart from the world meet and the US Open.
“It was really nice of Dr Assem Allam (the owner of English Premier League club Hull City) to increase the prize money for women. This is definitely a good sign that we are progressing,” said Nicol.