Nicol’s illustrious career ends at British Open

Nicol in action in her last game as a professional against Nour El Tayeb. (Twitter pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Squash legend, Datuk Nicol David’s career came to an end after a second-round defeat to world No 3, Nour El Tayeb at the British Open in University of Hull, England, last night.

The eight-time world champion and five-time British Open champion lost 4-11, 7-11, 13-11, 5-11 to the Egyptian in her last tournament to end her 21-year illustrious career in squash with great memories.

Earlier in February, the 35-year-old announced her retirement after the current 2018/19 Professional Squash Association (PSA) season, and her favourite British Open would be her last tournament.

It was a nostalgic moment for Nicol, who started her incredible career by winning her first title, the 2005 British Open, before going all the way to claim her first World Championship title that same year, leading towards creating history to an unprecedented nine years at the helm of world rankings from 2006 to 2015.

“The British Open was the thing that really kicked things off and winning that title gave me the belief that I could be one of the best on tour and gave me the confidence to win my first world title and get to world No 1.

“At the time, you just never quite know until you experience it first-hand, and as the years went by, that’s when I won my second world title and things really kicked off for me. It all really started from the British Open, I can’t believe it’s nearly been two decades,” she said after the match.

The video interview was posted in the PSA’s Facebook, ‘Squash – PSA World Tour’.

The Penangite, who started to play squash at the age of five, had claimed three World Games gold medal, five Asian Games gold and two Commonwealth Games gold throughout her over 20 years of representing Malaysia.

Nicol who turned pro in 2000, was the youngest world junior champion when she won the 1999 World Junior Squash Championships in Antwerp, Belgium at the age of 15.

Moving to the next phase of life, Nicol, as one of the greatest sports icons of the country, now looking forward to continuing her contributions from outside the glass court, especially with women empowerment programmes and motivational efforts through her Nicol David Foundation.

“At the moment I would love to work closely with the Women’s Tour to help the tour grow as there is so much potential to showcase. I also want to do something at home with my foundation to help more girls to venture into sports and using squash as a tool to empower more girls.

“Hopefully I can motivate more people … There are too many things I want to do. I am looking forward to the next phase,” she said.

The ongoing tournament could be the most emotional British Open as it was also the last tournament for the two English players, the two-time British Open champion Laura Massaro and former world No 2, Jenny Duncalf.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s challenge at the tournament ended when Low Wee Wern was also eliminated after suffering 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 lost to the world No 5, Joelle King of New Zealand.