Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David has announced that she will call time on her record-breaking career at the end of the 2018/19 season.
The 35-year-old from Penang is one of the most successful squash players of all time and spent an unprecedented nine years at World No.1 between 2006-2015.
In addition to her eight World Championship wins, David also lifted five British Open titles, two Commonwealth Games gold medals, five Asian Games gold medals and three World Games gold medals.
David’s reign atop the PSA World Rankings came to an end in September 2015, but she continued to write her name into the record books, setting a new record for the longest unbroken run inside the world’s top five at 143 months, before staying inside the top 10 for a record 177 months.
Since turning professional in 2000, David has won 81 tour titles and reached 102 finals, winning 567 of her 680 matches on the tour. Her most recent title win came at the Ciudad de Floridablanca in March 2017, when she beat America’s Olivia Blatchford Clyne to take the trophy.
David was also voted as the greatest female squash player of all time in a poll conducted by the Professional Squash Association (PSA) in summer 2018, with squash fans voting in their thousands.
Away from the court, David became the youngest person ever to be awarded the title 'Dato’' from the Penang State Government and in 2008 was honoured with the Order of Merit. The highest order of 'Datuk' from the Federal Government was conferred to David by HRH The King in 2017.
David’s last PSA tournament will either be the Allam British Open, which takes place in Hull between March 20-26, or June’s PSA World Tour Finals, which she will participate in if she qualifies.
"This decision has been thought through for quite some time and I do know that this is my last season," said David.
"My mind and body have battled it out to stay at the very top of my game for such a long time that I feel that I only have this last big push left for the final season to give it all I have before I enter the next phase of my life.
"Competing on tour and being in these amazing venues all around the world is the first thing I’ll miss. However, I’m going to make the most of it over these next few months the best I can. After having time to reflect, I can honestly say that staying at No.1 for nine years in a row is what stands out for me most. I never fully understood it until I was not there anymore. I’m very proud of this achievement.
"I love squash with all my heart, and it will always play an important role in my life, which is why I would like to give back in three ways. By working closely with the Professional Squash Association (PSA) to raise the awareness of our sport globally and to build a support team for our professional squash athletes as they continue to raise the bar on tour.
"By helping the younger Malaysian generation through the Nicol David Foundation, which seeks to empower girls through sport to reach their full potential. And to the people of Malaysia, I will be sharing my story, ‘Nurturing Belief’, through a series of talks and writings.
"Thank you from my heart for the amazing support from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the National Sports Council the Institute of Sport Malaysia, the Penang Sports Council, and all squash associations involved throughout my career - SRAM, SRAP and The Penang Squash Academy. And, of course, my technical and support team with the incredible Liz Irving working with me for 16 wonderful years together – what a great journey it has been.
"Thank you to all my fans, my supporters and my followers for joining me on my journey throughout all these years. I would like to enjoy my last few tournaments together with everyone throughout this campaign, and I would like to encourage all of you to keep on rooting for me. The dream remains."
PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough said: "Nicol is undoubtedly one of the greatest squash players of all time and her presence on the tour will be sorely missed. She has inspired a generation of Malaysian players and will go down in history as one of the most iconic figures ever to pick up a squash racket.
"Nicol has always displayed an exemplary level of professionalism both on and off court and everyone at the PSA wishes her nothing but the best for the future."
David will compete for a ninth - and final - World Championship title later this week at the PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family, which will be held in Chicago’s Union Station between February 23 - March 2.
Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
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