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The
British Open: The Big Chris Walker Comeback story…
   last
updated on: June 9, 2001 12:59

Nice
Guys don’t Finish Last

By Ron Beck

Chris Walker, who has reached as high as #4 in the world and led the British
teams in past years, had seen his career on the wane for the past several
seasons. But in a startling and dramatic turnaround, Chris Walker has parlayed
a long sojourn away from squash to tour the world into a brilliant comeback
that has taken him to the finals of the British Open this
weekend.

What a wonderful story it would be if Walker could win the final and become
the first English winner since James Dear. It was really Peter Nicol who everyone
had expected to see in this spot, but Walker has quietly moved from upset
to upset, leading him to Sunday’s finals in the NIA Hall.

Walker, who for several seasons was Peter Nicol’s constant sparring partner
and tournament companion, had with grace and smiling demeanor let the talented
Nicol garner all the attention and accolades while Walker quietly helped Nicol
prepare and made friends at every tour stop.

Walker, an outgoing ambassador for squash and generally all around nice
guy, has seen over the past 24 months his position in every main draw eroded
to a qualifier’s lot. With no fanfare, Walker, who also publishes an occasional
electronic newsletter and was the first pro to develop his own personal website,
took 9 months off the tour to travel the world with his girlfriend.

Walker, who sees the USA as the future of squash, signed up with American
racket manufacturer Black Knight as a sponsor and markets his own racket,
the "Walker’s Weapon. Walker has also concentrated for the past year
and a half on conducting exhibitions across the USA and developing a series
of USA based adult
squash camps, this year in Santa Barabara California.

But, Chris has shown, he’s not ready to hang up his competitive racket yet.
In a stunning series of preformances this week, Walker used his immense experience
and his freshness to bring strategy, focused play, and determination, to his
run through first the qualifiers and then the main draw to reach, the British
Open Finals.

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