After I managed to scrape through the first round against Joelle King, Kasey Brown played her best squash in the quarters coming out completely flawless to beat me. I knew being slightly off my focus with her wasn’t the way to go that day. She did really well to reach the finals and that she would be gunning for more in the upcoming tournaments.
After a loss, it usually gets me going and my aim was to get back on track for the Worlds. The Qatar Open went well and I got into every match with a purpose and never looked back.
Quarters and Semis with Raneem El Weleily and Rachael Grinham were very close but certainly were a boost when I got through further reaching the finals. That gave me a leap into another level with my focus while playing Madeline Perry. That win felt great and everything I put together made more sense in the finals.
The World Open!
The whole week of the tournament was a progression phase. Even before the Worlds started, Liz and my support team were set and got me ready for what was coming my way.
Finally got to play my first match with Delia Arnold and was so excited to get on court. When we moved onto the glass court, that just made everything extra special. It felt like we were performing a show with 1500 seats ready to be filled. Nour El Sherbini was up and I fought for every point against the young, talented Egyptian.
Kasey Brown was next and I took on board what I learnt since we played and brought my all in that match. A very intense match in every aspect but winning the second game gave me a step up to win the match.
A familiar setting in previous World Opens when I played Natalie Grinham but this was the semis instead. We had monster rallies in the first game and a close one too. I kept to it and got ahead in each game to beat her.
The finals day arrived; the moment I had been preparing for all year. Jenny Duncalf was set to go but I couldn’t stop myself from going out of my skin to win that title. That was the best squash match I’ve ever played and I can’t explain how amazing that feeling on court was during the match.
Unreal moment winning my 6th World Open title… Words can’t describe how I feel. Hardwork and passion truly pays off with lots of love and support from the people who dedicate their efforts and care too.
Special thanks to my parents for coming all the way to support me at every World Open. Their love is what keeps me going. Liz, for making me the best squash player I’ll ever be and her patience to see me through everything. My full support team, Ronald and Maurice (sports therapists), Frank (sports psychologist) and Patrick (physical trainer) for keeping me on top of my game always.
Thank you again! Onto Hong Kong!
Editor’s note: Nicol’s winning speech as recorded by Steve Cub of SquashSite.