Malaysia's world No.1 squash player Nicol David is back to winning ways after reclaiming the British Open title on Sunday from defending champion Laura Massaro in the final. - SquashSite.co.uk
PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Nicol David’s superb win over Laura Massaro for her fifth British Open title on Sunday means two things.
Firstly, the seven-time world champion is still at the peak of her game and it will still take incredible effort just to claim a win from her.
Massaro’s coach, the renowned David Pearson, had said during a recent two-week coaching stint in Malaysia that to beat Nicol “one needs to play their best, and it requires Nicol to have an off day”.
The Penangite, despite dropping the first set against reigning world champion Massaro, clearly did not have an off day in the 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 win.
It was a great win for Nicol as Massaro, the world No. 2, was not short on confidence and had the home crowd clearly behind her.
Secondly, it also showed that the Women’s Squash Association (WSA) Tour is not as predictable and boring as some make it out to be. It has the potential to rival the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour in terms of quality.
The fact that Egyptian sensation Nour El Sherbini, who beat Nicol in the World Championships semi-final in March, and four other seeded players were knocked out in the first round was testament of that.
Nicol herself is aware that her peers are fast catching up with her – something she sees as inspiration to keep improving to maintain her place at the top of the world standings.
“First of all, it’s not a relief to win this time ... it’s actually satisfaction to win the title back,” said Nicol.
“Winning the British Open means the world to me. I was really focused, digging deep and playing for my life just to get the job done.
“It’s a great feeling to come out on the winning end, knowing that all the hard work pays off.
“Basically, my motivation is very simple. I love the game so much that I just have to keep on playing. It’s a tough sport and I’ve got to keep working hard to stay at the top.
“My ambition is not to win as many titles as I can ... even though I have 74 now, but more of understanding myself through squash. Every time I get on court, I learn something new.
“But it’s great that the competition keeps getting tougher because it keeps me on my toes.”
Meanwhile, it also bodes well that Nicol is back in form especially with the Asian Team Championship (June 11-15), the Glasgow Commonwealth Games (July 23-Aug 3) and the Incheon Asian Games (Sept 19-Oct 4) looming.
With the likes of world No. 8 Low Wee Wern and national No. 3 Delia Arnold also dependable team players, a chance of tasting team success will not be quite impossible after all.