The Global Gallery: Views on the world of squash by Martin Bronstein

Special: Michelle Martin announces her retirement from WISPA squash

Global Gallery Number Eleven: Nov 4, 1999   ©1999 SquashTalk

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Read the past Global Gallery Columns:

[#Ten, Oct 4, 1999]     [#Nine, Sept 12, 1999]     [#Eight, Aug 3, 1999]      [#Seven, July 5, 1999]     [#Six, June 9, 1999]     [#Five, June 6, 1999 (Power/Nicol head-to-head)]     [#Four, May 5, 1999]     [#Three, May 2, 1999]     [#Two, April 2, 1999]    [# One, March 8, 1999]

November 1999, London England

FLASH: Nov 11th: [Special: Peter Martin in the British Open but not US Open] (Nov 11)


Michelle Martin, world number one and former world champion, is hanging up her squash shoes. She told me this on November 3 from her bed in Sydney where she was still getting over jet lag after he trip to the States where she twice lost to Cassie Campion in the finals of the World Open and US Open. She sounded tired and dispirited and said the five week gap between the US Open and the British was too much, and that she no longer enjoys the travelling and the jet lag. She said she had achieved everything she wanted to achieve and simply didn’t enjoy the travelling as much as when she was 18. She said she has no plans other than to avoid a squash court, socialize, enjoy the run up to Christmas and the huge festivities for the new millennium that are planned for Sydney.


It looks as though Cassie Campion could add the British Open to her list of titles, the first Brit to win the title since Martine LeMoignan in 1987. Cassie has finally rid herself of the bad shots that stopped her climbing to the top. After a bad showing in Cairo, she got a good talking to from her coach, David Pearson, and it worked. Now she admits that she is playing tactically and not going for the wrong shot at the wrong time. The British Open won’t be a breeze for her, however. Now up to two in the WISPA rankings, Cassie will have to contend with Carol Owens who is playing the best of her career and is rewarded with a number four ranking. Owens twice took Michelle to five games. Leilana Joyce, ranked three, can be as tough as any of them and Natalie Grainger is roaring back after what she calls a nightmare in Cairo.


For Peter Nicol 1999 is a year to remember. It started pretty badly: he’d lost the world number one spot to the man who beat him for the world title – Jonathon Power and then lost to him again in January in the Tournament of champions.

But then he was awarded the MBE in the June honours list. It got better ! he walked away with the World Open title in Cairo and with that victory took the number one spot back from Power. But then came the capper. He opened a letter from the Lord Mayor of London asking him to have lunch with the Queen. There would be 399 other people there who, together with Peter made up Britian’s top 400 hundred achievers, a mixture of businessmen, social workers, artists, actors, musicians and sportsmen, "people from all walks of life chosen for their skill and endeavour."

Peter sat next to a retired professor, a young guy who had started an internet cafe for people with problems, and opposite Rabbi Julia Neuberger, Britain’s first female rabbi. (Peter said she didn’t play squash).

He was due to go to Buckingham Palace to get his MBE award in late November, but had to ask for a postponement due to his presence at the US Open. He will be going, he told me, probably in February. Pictures of Peter in a top hat holding his ‘gong’ (as awards are known in UK) will be well featured in the squash press. Watch this space.


The November rankings have just hit my e-mail and damn! Nicol is no longer number one! Yes, that cute Canuck J. Power has gone back to number one without having to hit a ball. It’s all about points dropping off from last year and as Peter did better than Jonathonin last years Al Ahram, he had more points to lose, dropping him back to second place. Poor old Martin Heath, who got to the final last year, lost a bundle of points and despite getting to the semis of the World Open has dropped back from fourth to seventh, so he’ll be hot to do very well in the British Open.


Although Sarah Fitz-Gerald has announced her comeback for the States in January, she told me that she is seriously considering playing in the British Open. She will be in Aberdeen for Dunlop, her sponsors, anyway and she has been gently playing and doing routines. At the time of writing, she still has 12 days to make up her mind before closing date for entries on November 15. "I’m going to leave my decision until the very last minute," she said.


Iron Man Ross Norman will not be picking up the Over 40 title at the British Open.

Ross won the Masters title with ease and I thought he would do the same in Aberdeen, but it’s too far away for Ross who lives near Heathrow. He has a very successful air courier business, as well as a wife and two kids, and a whole week away in Aberdeen is too much. When the venue is nearer to Heathrow, he can nip back between rounds, but Aberdeen? Sorry, a nip too far.


Former world number three Sue Wright will be at the British Open after a real tussle with a virus that has put her out of action for most of the year. Although she played in Monte Carlo in September, she took another rest because she wasn’t feeling quite right. This meant missing the Open in Seattle, but there was another reason: an inner ear problem means she can’t fly. So she will be taking the train up to Aberdeen – a nice, restful seven hour journey. She told me that she is delighted to be back in full training: "Three months ago I thought I would never play again, so playing the British Open is terrific."


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