KUALA LUMPUR: Nicol David, the world’s greatest woman squash player, is to be feted by the Prime Minister for her outstanding achievements.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will meet Nicol at his office in Putrajaya on Monday to congratulate the Penangite for creating history by winning a record sixth world title in Rotterdam on Nov 6.
Nicol is the first woman player to achieve the feat since the inauguration of the World Open in 1976. She won her earlier titles in Hong Kong (2005), Belfast (2006), Manchester (2008), Amsterdam (2009) and Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, last year.
The trophy that Nicol won in Rotterdam, after beating world No. 2 Jenny Duncalf of England in straight sets in the final, will be flown in from London today.
Nicol, 28, was also inducted into the squash Hall of Fame in Rotterdam for her achievements. She has won a total of 56 Women’s International Squash Players Association (Wispa) titles since turning pro in 2000 and looks set to add many more to her collection.
Still very much on top of her game, Nicol ended the season by bagging her seven consecutive Hong Kong Open title last month.
Nicol received a warm welcome at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on arriving from Amsterdam yesterday.
A total of 130 junior players were there to greet her together with Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) president Datuk Syed Mustaffa Syed Ali and officials.
Nicol said she was overwhelmed by the reception.
“I never thought so many junior players would be there to greet me. It feels really good,” she said.
“It’s great to be back to spend Christmas with my family after a successful year. Winning the world title for a record sixth time was the high point of my season and I want to enjoy it with the family,” said Nicol.
“I will take a break for 10 days before I start training again. Former world number one Vicki (Cardwell of Australia) will be in Penang in the middle of the month for two weeks to spar with me.
“It will be a good preparation for my first ever World Series Finals in London from Jan 4-8,” said Nicol.
The Finals will feature the top eight players, including Malaysian number two Low Wee Wern.
Nicol said her drive to stay as the world No. 1 gets tougher every year because the other players were improving fast.
“I have to train much harder to stay a step ahead and do well in tournaments,” said Nicol.
“I have the advantage of being able to train with whoever I want. My goal is to stay on top for as long as possible.
“I will be playing a number of tournaments next year but the big ones will be the World Open, British Open, US Open and Australian Open,” said Nicol.
For now though, the world’s premier woman squash player is looking forward to her meeting with the premier of the nation.