Heading to Cairo, England number one Laura Massaro sets sights on unique triple target
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Just days after adding a world team title to the individual world crown she won for the first time in March, England’s Laura Massaro is ‘excited’ to be heading to Egypt this week to defend her title in the Wadi Degla Women’s World Squash Championship in Cairo.
Backed by Wadi Degla Holding and boasting a USD $150,000 prize-fund, the premier Women’s Squash Association (WSA) event will take place at the Wadi Degla club in Cairo from 15-20 December, following three days’ of qualifying. The 30th edition of the tournament will be staged in Egypt for only the second time since the inaugural event in 1979.
Massaro clinched the 2013 title in March this year after beating unseeded Egyptian Nour El Sherbini in the final in Penang, Malaysia. El Sherbini, then aged 18 and ranked 27 in the world, shocked world number one Nicol David in the previous round – denying the home favourite a record eighth title.
Only last week Massaro became a rare holder of two world titles when she led England to success in the SHOP.CA WSF World Team Championship in Canada.
“I’m really looking forward to the event in Cairo,” said the world No.2 on the eve of her departure to Egypt. “Not everyone gets to go into a World Championship to defend their title so I am looking forward to having that experience.
“I have some good memories of playing in Egypt and I am excited to head back there.
“We had a great week in Niagara last week and it meant so much to finally get a gold medal in the teams event,” added the 31-year-old from Preston. “I hope I can capitalise on my form there and play well this week in Cairo.”
Massaro, the second seed, will face a qualifier in the opening round before a predicted clash with top seed Nicol David in the final.
In an interview with the BBC, Massaro added: “I thought being world champion and world team champion was pretty good. But three world titles in one year – there are probably not many people in history who have done that.” Looking ahead to the merger of the PSA and WSA, Massaro added:
“I’m really excited,” said Massaro. “It will help grow the sport as the men’s tour is a little stronger than the women’s, and I think they’re aware that you can’t keep growing the men’s if the women’s side isn’t growing with it. As a sport it doesn’t look great.
“Together we can hopefully build the sport up to bigger audiences and prize money.
“I think a few of the men were a little bit uncertain. Some were thinking more about what they’d lose rather than what they’d gain, but generally everybody looked at it as the best way for the sport to move forward.”
Boasting 48 courts, Wadi Degla is the biggest chain of squash clubs in Egypt – and one of the biggest groups of sporting clubs in the world, with a combined membership worldwide in excess of 500,000.
Wadi Degla Women’s World Squash Championship in Cairo (First Round):
 Nicol David (MAS) v Qualifier
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Qualifier
 Emma Beddoes (ENG) v Qualifier
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Qualifier
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v Nicolette Fernandes (GUY)
 Madeline Perry (IRL) v Joshana Chinappa (IND)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Sarah Kippax (ENG)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Habiba Mohamed (EGY)
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Qualifier
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Qualifier
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Mayar Hany Mohamed(EGY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Qualifier
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Joey Chan (HKG)
 Annie Au (HKG) v Line Hansen (DEN)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Qualifier
For all the latest WSA Tour news: wsaworldtour.com
Picture courtesy of WSA