Nicol: Penang and Malaysia’s Sports Pearl
Squash is possibly amongst the hardest games in its physical and mental demands. Lightning fast and totally exhausting you have to be well-conditioned, have exceptional eye-hand coordination and reflexes, and be super competitive to make it to the top of the sport. This makes the achievement of Nicol David even more remarkable.
Repeating Malaysia champion, Asian champion, world champion Nicol has been the most successful Malaysian sports person in the nation’s history with a record of titles that is unlikely to be ever surpassed.
A comparison of her international record and titles during her over 20 year career with those of any other sports icon such as Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and others at the same level shows that she deserves to belong to the highest ranking in the sporting world’s hall of fame.
Born in Penang, Nicol David is the daughter of Ann Marie David, a school teacher of Hokkien–Hakka descent and Desmond David, a Malaysian Indian engineer. Her primary education was at Convent Green Lane Primary School following which she moved to Convent Green Lane Secondary School in Penang.
Nicol David first began playing squash when she was five years old, and received coaching at the age of eight. While training at the Bukit Dumbar Squash Centre, Nicol David’s potential was spotted by Ee Phoeh Hoon, who led her to represent Penang. Nicol David’s squash career began in 1992 when she won silver in the Under-14 category of the Penang State Junior Championship.In 1994, Nicol David was chosen to join the Penang state squash team for the Malaysian Games tournament where she helped Penang win a gold medal in the team event. In the same year, she won her first two international titles – the Hong Kong U-13 and the Scottish Junior Open Under-12.
In 1999, she won the Women’s World Junior Squash Championships of 1999 making her the youngest woman to become the world junior champion at the age of 15. In the process, she defeated three players ranked in the world top 20. She successfully defended the title in Penang in 2001, becoming one of only two players in the history of squash to have won it twice.
In 1999, Nicol David began to win major junior tournaments, including the British Junior Open, the German Junior Open,the SEA Games (Champion in the Senior and Team categories) and the Asian Junior Champion for both individual and team events.
When she turned professional in 2000 at the young age of 17 it was no surprise that she toiled for a few years before hitting the big time in the sport. However, in 2005 she won the World Games in Germany, the Malaysian Open and the British Open in a rise which saw her also voted by her fellow members of the Women’s International Squash Players Association as the WISPA Player of The Year 2005. In January 2006 Nicol David became the World’s number 1 female squash player, the first Malaysian and the first Asian woman to be ranked World number 1 in the sport.
Since then Nicol David has not only reigned at the top of the squash world but has achieved remarkable durability that only a very few others such as Federer and Nadal in tennis and Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei can match in the racquet world.
Beginning in August 2006, Nicol David was the world number one for a record-breaking 108 consecutive months. She has won the World Open title a record 8 times in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, as well as the British Open title in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2014. In July 2016, she reached her 151st successive month in the top 10, breaking the record in both men’s and women’s categories.
In a poll conducted in 2018 by the Professional Squash Association (PSA), Nicol David was voted by fans as the greatest squash player of all time in the women’s category.
|Highest world ranking||No. 1 (January, 2006)|
|World Open||2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014|
- In Feb 2000 won her first Tour title at Finnish Open, as a 16-yearold qualifier setting record as youngest WISPA title winner
- Becomes the first player to win the World Junior title twice in 2001.
- World number 1 for a record 109-month unbroken run. In October 2018 she ended a record 14 year, 9 month (177 months) unbroken run in world top 20.
- Won 81 of 102 Tour finals played.
- Played 700 Tour matches during her career.
- Won Asian Sportswoman of the year 2007.
- Voted women’s ‘Greatest Player of All-Time’ (‘GOAT’) in poll conducted by PSA in 2018
Squash Champions: Comparison Chart
In her own words
“It’s up to you to create the environment yourself and make the effort, and not only just expecting the environment to fall into place,”
“A woman has actually made it…if she has the love and passion towards their fullest reach of their potential.”
“When I’ve trained and followed the programme as hard as I could, I trust that when I go into a competition, everything will fall into place.”
“Enjoy what you do. Take care of your body when you are young so that you do not live with regrets. Squash is hard work and intense on your body and muscles, and you need to try to avoid injuries as much as possible. Make the most of the opportunities you have to travel to new territories to participate in tournaments and meet different people, learn about different cultures and expand your knowledge base.”
“If I want to indulge, it will be a good roti canai, and teh tarik on the side.”