PETALING JAYA: Malaysian squash queen Nicol David received nearly RM40,000 from her sponsor, Mulpha Head International Bhd, here yesterday for reaching the semi-final of the World Women’s Open in December last year and for achieving a career high of eighth position in this month’s world rankings list.
The reward she received was part of a two-year deal worth RM1.3mil, which she signed with Mulpha in July last year.
Nicol had a spectacular run in the World Open. She defeated three seeded players – Omneya Abdel Kawy of Egypt (14th), American Natalie Grainger (second) and Fiona Geaves of England (13th) – before losing to fourth seed Cassie Jackman of England in the semi-finals.
When Nicol signed the deal with Mulpha, she was ranked 37th in the world. She went on to give strong performances, reaching the final of the Malaysian and Monte Carlo Opens. She was also a semi-finalist in the Dutch Open in November.
Reigning Asian champion Nicol is very optimistic about the year ahead and will be out to consolidate her position in the top 10.
“The coming year is going to be very challenging and exciting. The field is very open with many new young players making their way into the circuit,” said the Penangite.
“Improving on my world ranking is possible because the differences in the ranking points in the top 10 is not too big.”
Nicol has identified the Asian Championship and the World Open as her main priorities this year. The competition dates for the two tournament have yet to be confirmed.
Nicol also wants to perform well in the Open tournaments in Qatar (Feb 24-28), the United States (Sept 18-21) and Britain (Nov 1-6).
“I will also be playing in a number of smaller tournaments. All of them will be geared towards a strong performance in the Asian Championship and World Open,” said Nicol.
Meanwhile, Nicol has set an initial target of reaching the final of the Kuala Lumpur Open, which begins today at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil. She is seeded second behind world number four Vanessa Atkinson of Holland.
“It will be my first tournament of the year and I am looking forward to getting a good start,” said Nicol, who has yet to win an international tournament since her victory in the KL Open in 2002.