Lloyd-Walter, who recently turned 30 years old, has had an extremely successful junior and senior career amassing numerous prestigious titles along the way and representing England. She had a fantastic final win-loss record on the tour, appearing in nine WISPA finals and winning eight of them! She reached a career high ranking of 18 back in November 2006 and hovered around the top twenty for the next four years.
Dominique first took to the squash court aged seven near London, introduced by her playing parents. A sparkling junior career saw her win two junior British national titles, become European junior individual and team champion, and represent England as a junior no less than 24 times. But squash nearly lost her to swimming as she was at regional level, but fortunately for squash she didn’t like the early morning training before school started!
WISPA caught up with Dom recently to find out her thoughts on her retirement and what she has planned for the future. Here is what she had to say:
Has it sunk in yet?
“It’s been two weeks since I made my decision to retire, but yes it still feels very weird after playing professionally for twelve years. At first it was hard to say the word ‘retire’ and read it!!!! It was a long thought out decision though. I had been deliberating for quite some time about whether to continue playing the tour before deciding I’d come to the end of the road.”
What made you decide to retire now?
“After having a six month lay off from the tour in 2010 (from June to December) due to a foot injury, I got a taste for what life might be like without squash and whilst I missed playing, it was nice to experience a life without packing your bags every few weeks to travel somewhere to train or play. I found I really enjoyed being at home with friends and family. The injury happened just after I had bought a flat and with a mortgage to pay, I knew I had to find a way to pay the bills.
I qualified as a Personal Trainer in 2009 and so when I got offered some work, I jumped at the chance. I found I really enjoyed it and when I was able to start playing again in January, I decided to combine the squash with Personal Training. Whilst I was enjoying playing again, I knew I wasn’t as focused as before. The Personal Training was going well and I was really enjoying it and the thought of playing tournaments was not filling me with the same joy. This is when I started to question things and I think turning 30 in June was the thing that made me realise I am at an age where I have to do what makes me happy. I guess the injury (although a negative at the time) gave me an insight into other aspects of life which triggered the decision to move on from squash.”
What are you going onto do?
“I am now hoping to add to the Personal Training work I have already got. I really enjoy it, you can see all about it on my new website www.domlloydwater.co.uk!”
What have been your greatest successes in Squash?
“My greatest achievements in squash have been representing England (24 times junior and 5 times senior). Getting my caps as a senior means such a lot to me and I am so pleased I managed to play for my country over the last couple of years. I was part of the England team this year that won European Gold which is fantastic. I got to the semis of the nationals this year (2011) which meant an awful lot as that was the furthest I had progressed in the tournament. Beating my seeding to get there made it even better. I was European junior individual champion and team champion.”
What are you going to miss most about the tour?
“I will miss seeing my friends on the tour particularly the English girls with whom I have shared so many special moments with. Tania, Jen, Laura, Alison, Sarah and Emma have given me some great memories and I feel with the squash girls you can always pick up where you left off even when you have not had any contact for a while. Of course there are lots of other players I have known for a long time and I will miss… I have had some amazing times with players on tour. I will also miss tournaments where you get treated like VIPs for a week where the hotel, food, scenery, organisers are all fantastic.”
What are you not going to miss about being a professional?
“Most people know I have an unfortunate fear of flying. Ask Jen how many laughs I have given her on flights due to me becoming near hysterical. Unbelievable when you think of how many flights I have been on! So I won’t miss flying and I won’t miss the hours of travelling to get to a venue.”
What is your best memory from the tour and favourite tournament?
“Favourite tournament is probably Hong Kong. I love it there and I have really good memories from Mick (Biggs-her boyfriend) travelling to that tournament with me. Now I’m not playing, it is certainly a place I want to go back to soon! The tournaments in Qatar hold really good memories for me as I always stayed with a friend (Maureen) along with Tania.”
And how do you think people will describe you as a squash player?
“I think people would describe me as a squash player as ‘STEADY’! Who knows… I might be wrong!! A close second would be ‘the most attacking player out there’ (wink, wink)!!”
“I would like to say a huge thank you to my parents who have supported me through the good times and the bad with my career in squash. They have always been 100% behind me and always believed in me. Without them, I could not have achieved what I did. I would also like to thank my boyfriend Mick, who has encouraged me to work hard and believe in myself. He has been so supportive for the last five years.”
Everyone at WISPA would like to congratulate Dom on a wonderful career and we wish you the best of luck for your future as a personal trainer and in everything else you do.