My Side of the Victory

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An ecstatic Nicol after her 11/6, 11/8, 11/6 win over Laura Massaro at the World Open final in Grand Cayman.

As my squash career goes by, life still continues to go on whether I win or lose. It’s what I make of it that has brought me to this point in my life… 7 times World Open Champion and living a life full of adventure ahead of me. I still can’t believe I just won my 7th World Title!

The more situations and experiences I’ve taken on, the better I’ve gotten to know myself. Sometimes, it can be difficult to admit my faults but the moment I do, fixing them seems manageable. Well, easier said than done! Still working on it, to be honest.

My competitiveness can be a plus but also an annoyance to my friends, especially because I hate losing in anything… even if it was snake and ladders, I’d like to win that too! The emptiness I get when I lose matches can really dig deep, right through my very core, and sometimes, I find it difficult to climb out of it because I want to win badly. In time, I learned that if I spent too much time thinking of my loss, then there would be less time to think of ways to overcome it.

However, to win a tournament on tour is really difficult; even to win one match because whoever is on that court wants it just as badly as I do. That’s what I’m up against every single time in each tournament, and if I am to win the tournament, it would mean having to get through 4-5 contenders that only get tougher in each round. This is the sequence of play again as I move into next year. Why do I put myself through this? Sometimes I ask that same question but it’s a simple answer – I absolutely love it!

There are times when the hard training sessions just seem too painful to get through. Then there are tough moments – trying to make time for myself when squash takes total priority over everything and everyone else, body on the verge of shutting down when I have to start training the next day again, and the sacrifices that many take for granted such as being amongst family and friends at special moments or difficult times. It takes a toll but it has made me stronger in many ways. During training, I remind myself not to stop because if I stop or give up, then I’d eventually give up while I’m competing too. I’m driven by my passion and it’s ultimate satisfaction when everything pays off with a big win. That feeling can never be replaced by anything else.

Many people would know the tough job of training but the hardest part is staying on track during tournaments, physically and mentally. Everyone would have been training just as hard or even harder but at the top, it’s mentally demanding and of course physically too. My coach and mentor, Liz Irving, takes the lead in our team with her 25 years of squash experience while creating the right training atmosphere needed leading up to tournaments, and keeping the clarity of our approach during tournaments. She gives our team the assurance that everything will be in order if everyone works together. I just have to apply what I’ve practiced into play. Another thing that’s easier said than done!

Frank Cabooter (Sports Psychologist) and Liz Irving (Coach/ Mentor) in Nicol's corner during the World Open final in Grand Cayman.

I have complete trust in Liz and my team – physios, sports psychologist and physical trainer, that give me the necessary reinforcements to go out there and perform. Liz puts in her full effort and works hard to coordinate everyone, taking into account detailed attention because every little bit makes a difference. I’m fortunate to have someone like Liz whom I can look up to and continue learning from always.

This is a little insight to my side of the victory. It only gets more challenging and that’s what keeps me going! To those who have been following my success, thanks for your support and I hope this will give you an idea of how I take on my career and life. No matter how hard things may seem, I’m still living my dream!

Special thanks to my loving family. Their love and support are what made me who I am today. Love them always!

Here’s to a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Nicol David, Founder
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