First Stop of the Year, USA

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Hi SquashStars fans!

To all of you who have been with—2 years have passed and we’re into our 3rd year now in 2011. There are a lot of new additions to our site (we hope you like it!) with our Facebook and Twitter updates attracting close to 2500 fans. It has been overwhelming and I would like to thank you all for your support. Here’s my latest blog on my recent trip to the USA. 

Snowy Cleveland

It was my first time playing at the Cleveland Classic in Ohio… it was also the start of the squash season for me. I haven’t been to this part of America before, so now I guess I have a better understanding of what winter really is like here… it sure was a lot of snow!

The Cunninghams were my lovely hosts here; they also hosted Natalie Grinham and Kieran (her baby boy), Amanda Sobhy and Julianne Chu. All of us felt so at home at their lovely house.

We played our matches at the Cleveland Racket Club. The two-man team, Nathan and Drewe, with the support of most of the members of club and other sponsors, got this tournament elevated to a Gold event. Everybody watched with full enthusiasm because they were excited to see top women squash players play in their home club.


Playing Samantha Teran
She was more composed after having a match the day before with Aisling while I managed to get into it better after losing the first game to win in 4 games. (Scoreline: 9/11, 11/2, 11/5, 11/8 in 44mins)

Playing Amanda Sobhy
The pace was amazing in the first game with lots of shots and volleys. She may have felt her 5-setter with Kasey later in the match and that gave me the advantage to win. (Scoreline: 11/9, 11/5, 11/6 in 25 mins)

Playing Annie Au
She too had a 5-setter match coming into the semis and was making a few mistakes, more than usual while I kept a good pace right through to take it 3-0. (Scoreline: 11/5, 11/6, 11/7)

Playing Laura Massaro
A close first game and playing catch up in the second, I had to work much harder to take the third. A string of points and it was match to Laura 3-1. (Scoreline: 9/11, 7/11, 11/9, 8/11 in 61 mins)

Win or lose—it’s always a process with squash and after Laura’s performance throughout the week, she came out the better player that day.


After the tournament, I attended a PRINCE event on Friday at Results the Gym and on Saturday at the Sports Club/LA followed by the Hashim Khan film presentation at the University Club later that evening.

Amanda Sobhy and I played some exhibition matches too.

Below was my very busy itinerary at Washington!

@Results the Gym
• A Squash Clinic with the members
• Play the Pro (I was up against 6 players! 1 game to 11 points)
• An exhibition match with Amanda (I won 2-0)

@Sports Club/LA
• Beat the Pro (Amanda and I each played 8 players 1 game til 11 points. The more points they won, the more money we had to return to them.)
• Another exhibition match with Amanda (This time it was a close 2-1 win for me!)

@Episcopal High School
• A quick visit to the school to do a presentation to the winners of the girls team in their league finals.

@University Club
• A reception for squash fans and members to watch and meet both, Amanda and me.
• Beth Rasin, the producer of the Hashim Khan film presented it to the crowd.

It was definitely an eventful 2-days, with lots of squash enthusiasts in DC being involved in this event.

Thanks to all the clubs mentioned above and to our lovely hosts, the Lanier family for inviting us—the Sobhy family and me, into their home. It’s great that PRINCE arranged this event and generously handed out PRINCE products to those who were present.

I had a great time in America… now, I hope to keep on going and work towards my next tournament in March at the inaugural World Cup in Chennai. Wish me luck!



  1. Sathis Kumar

    February 10, 2011

    Wish u good luck Nicol.. 😉

  2. A. Faisal Shaazi

    February 10, 2011

    It was a good match between you and Laura, win or lose, both of you gave it your all.


    By the way now you have an idea what I had to endure for 3 and half years in Cleveland when i studied there. Lake effect!!

  3. Will Mather

    February 10, 2011

    Very cool Nicol! Especially the experience of being with a host family – I like that! Congratulations on yet another award as Player of the Year, a real honor. Thanks for sharing and Rachal and I will see you at the KL Open.

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