PETALING JAYA: This is it – one last hurrah for Nicol David!
The 35-year-old Malaysian squash darling will finally hang up her racquet after the prestigious British Open in Hull, England, starting tomorrow.
In February, Nicol announced that she will retire when the 2018-2019 Professional Squash Association (PSA) season ends in June and the moment of truth has arrived as the British Open is her last stop.
It has been more than 20 years since the squash legend mesmerised her fans with her tenacity, skills and determination en route to winning numerous titles and being voted the greatest female player of all time.
She won a record eight world titles, 81 PSA titles and held the world No. 1 spot for an unprecedented 109 consecutive months from 2006-2015 but Nicol knows all good things do come to an end.
Still in awe of her own accomplishments, Nicol has promised to savour her final stint at the British Open.
“To be honest, I’ve looked back and asked myself – how did I do all that? What a life it has been! I’ve never thought all of that was possible,” said Nicol.
“I’ve done so much more than I could have ever imagined ... that is spectacular.”
Nicol has won the British Open five times and is still the only Asian to have won the women’s crown.
“The first one (British Open title) in 2005 will always be special to me. It gave me all the motivation to go and win my first world title that same year,” said Nicol.
The world No. 18 is more pumped up after losing to world No. 6 Sarah-Jane Perry of England in the second round of the Manchester Open two weeks ago.
“I’m more than excited to come off from the Manchester outing after playing some good squash ... I just want to savour the moment here,” she said.
“There will be a lot of people like my coach Liz Irving, close friends and supporters from all over the world. It’ll be lots of fun to share this moment together with them.”
Nicol should get past world No. 48 Ho Tze-Lok of Hong Kong in the first round but faces a very difficult task against Egyptian world No. 3 Nour El Tayeb in her next round.
“I want to put up a solid performance in the first round. I’ve not thought beyond that,” added the ever-smiling Nicol.