No comeback after Achilles injury for the most successful French female player in squash history
By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)
Last week we saw Gregory Gaultier hang up his racket one last time during the Necker Mauritius Open, followed by Coline Aumard playing her final match on the PSA World Tour. Today, France’s Camille Serme has announced her immediate retirement from professional squash.
Serme is the most successful female French player of all time and enjoyed an eight and a half year unbroken spell in the top 10 between October 2013 and April 2022, eventually reaching a career-high of world No.2 in February 2017.
However, she has failed to return to the PSA World Tour after suffering an Achilles injury during the 2021 Egyptian Open.
The 33-year-old has captured multiple major PSA titles, with her breakthrough coming at the 2015 Allam British Open in Hull where she downed England’s Laura Massaro to become the first Frenchwoman to win the prestigious trophy.
Further notable success came at the U.S. Open in 2016 and the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in 2017, before she became a two-time ‘ToC’ champion in 2020, beating reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini under the chandeliers of the iconic Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall.
Like the British Open, Serme broke new ground at both the U.S. Open and Tournament of Champions, becoming the first female French player to win either title.
Serme made her PSA debut in 2005 and captured 15 titles from 26 finals, while she won 308 of 460 matches on the PSA Tour. Serme’s first triumph came at the 2007 Santiago Open, while her final title came at the 2020 Tournament of Champions.
Serme was also part of the French team which finished third at the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championships for the first time in 2016 and then again in 2018, while she also helped her country win the European Team Squash Championships for the first time in 2019.
In individual events, Serme became the first female French player to win a gold medal at the World Games when she beat Hong Kong’s Joey Chan in Wrocław in 2017.
Serme’s final appearance on the PSA Tour came at the 2021 CIB Egyptian Open, where she suffered an Achilles injury during her semi-final clash with World Champion Nour El Sherbini, which has kept her out of action ever since.
“I always felt very lucky to have had such a team and these incredible people around me,” said Serme.
“It is thanks to them that I had this career and today it is time to thank them properly. First, I want to thank my coach, Philippe. Knowing me since I was seven years old, he became more than a coach.
“He was a manager, a confidant and a true friend. Someone I worked with, I travelled with, I shared the worst and the best times with. We’ve been through a lot but we stuck together until the end and that’s what I’m most proud of.
“We are ready for some new adventures and I’m looking forward to it. Thank you, Phil.
“Then I want to thank my family, my parents, my brother and his wife, my uncle and my cousins. They always supported me, no matter what, and they loved me, no matter what, and that’s what I needed the most to be able to feel good on court, so thank you for that.
“There’s one person that I want to thank as well, he will recognise himself. He’s been here for me for 10 years, he understood the professional sport as he is an athlete as well, and he knew what squash meant to me. Thank you for your unconditional support all these years, I could not have done it without you, and I wish you all the best for the future.
“Of course, I want to thank my staff and there’s been quite a few people:
Frederic, Mathias, Pascal, Makis, Jonathan, Johan, Mathieu Florent, Romain, Jean-Marc, Christian, Joanna, Fabienne. But I could also name Regis, Marc, Philippe, Yves and Caroline. They were here when I started the professional tour and I hope they got to see where I ended up.
“I could not have done it also without my sponsors. My club, US Creteil, the French Federation, the Conseil Général du val de Marne, Décathlon, RM Club, Squash Montmartre, ITS Group and Squashy. And, of course, the ones that have helped me through my career, but I can’t name them all, there are quite a few.
“I want to thank my friends as well, from squash or not, you’ve been amazing.
“Thanks to the girls from the French team and the whole team I trained with in Creteil. It is thanks to you that I pushed myself and I improved to become World No.2. Merci!
“To finish, I want to thank Jonathan, Noa and their closest family. You welcomed me with open arms and hearts and I am so excited to begin this new chapter of my life with you.
“Off we go to a new adventure.”
Camille Serme: Career Stats.
PSA Matches: 460
PSA Match Wins: 308
PSA Titles: 15
PSA Finals: 26
PSA Tournaments Played: 162Highest World Ranking: No.2
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour / Squash Mad archive