Gritty left-hander will help ES groom stars of the future
By NATHAN CLARKE
Former World No.5 Peter Barker has announced his retirement from squash after more than 13 years competing on the international scene.
The 32-year-old, who turned pro in 2002, is retiring due to persistent injury and will formally bow out following next week’s Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open 2015.
“I think it has been apparent for a few months now that my announcement to retire has been coming,” said Barker.
“I’ve been struggling with a knee injury for some time that’s just become more and more problematic. I’m obviously disappointed to make this decision a year or two earlier than I’d wanted but in the same vein it feels the right time.
“I’m very positive and excited about the next chapter of my life and delighted that I’ll have the opportunity to continue to work with England Squash. It means a great deal to me to stay involved with the game at a professional level and to hopefully give something back to the programme that’s supported me so well over the course of my career.
“There are so many people that I could thank that have helped to shape me, both on and off the court and even tried to control my emotions and temper. In particular, thank you to my wife, Alex, and my family for their continued love and support. Thank you to Wilson, my sponsor for over a decade, to Carts for his guidance and wisdom these past 20 years, and to Robbo for rekindling my passion for the game.”
Born in London, Barker turned professional in 2002 and reached a career high World Ranking of 5. A consistent and popular face on the PSA World Tour Barker played over 400 matches on tour, winning 16 PSA titles, clocked up 102 caps for England and won a silver medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games Mixed Doubles alongside Alison Waters and a bronze in 2014 (Glasgow) and 2010 (Delhi) individuals.
England National Coach Chris Robertson, said: “Peter will rightly be remembered as an England great on and off the court. On court, Peter was technically proficient and tactically astute, yet his pride, passion and discipline made him the ultimate competitor.
“Off court, he’s been instrumental in driving the winning culture throughout the programme. For our coaching team we couldn’t be prouder of his achievements and the legacy he’s clearly left behind.”
Barker will now dedicate some of his time to supporting the development of England Squash players as a Performance Consultant.
Performance Director, Tom Duggan added, “Peter’s presence in any England team has always been a reassuring sight as you’ve always known the level of performance and commitment that he will give to the cause. I’m delighted that Peter will be continuing his long association with England Squash as a Performance Consultant from January.
“His work ethic, no-nonsense approach and knowledge of what it takes to win will be crucial as we look to develop a new generation of world-leading players and I’m looking forward to seeing the positive impact Peter can have with some of our younger Senior and England Academy players.”