Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Madeline Perry exclusive: Planning life after squash

Madeline Perry enters the court at Fitzwilliam Club during her testimonial day
Madeline Perry enters the court at Fitzwilliam Club during her testimonial day

Emotional testimonial day at Fitzwilliam Club as curtain comes down on my professional career


Irish squash kindly held a testimonial for me at Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club to celebrate my career and achievements. It was a gathering of a lot of people who have supported me during my career and was great to have them all together for the day.

Alison Waters, Sarah Jane Perry, Brian Byrne and Derek Ryan (whose wife had had a baby girl 12 hours earlier!) kindly offered to be involved with all the fun that included a junior coaching clinic, a singles match and some mixed doubles to finish. It was great to be back on my favorite court and where I had played my last professional match in April.

It really was a lovely day and so nice to have everyone there supporting me after so many years and certainly was a treat to not have any pressure of a final but to simply enjoy the atmosphere.

It certainly made me reflect upon my career, the many years travelling the world, making friends, visiting amazing places and the endless list of positives my life as a professional athlete gave me. It is now, after it has finished that I am able to truly reflect on it with great pride. If only it could have lasted forever!

A huge thanks to all of those who helped make it happen and such a success.

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Retirement has been a little strange for me. I didn’t have any big coaching job lined up but instead a charity expedition to the Borneo jungle working on projects and mentoring young people!! It was a great decision that turned out to be a highly rewarding experience and one I would recommend to everyone.

The simplicity of the life I had for three months gave me great thinking time about my slightly unsure future after a pro squash life and also gave me confidence in a world away from a squash court and a squash community.

Time since then has been spent training hard in the gym as ever, playing league and of course the required life planning. It has been tough at times, wondering if this life planning will take me anywhere but I felt I wanted to take my time and not rush into any jobs, having had such a hugely rewarding and stimulating job up until this point. Certain circumstances have probably left me in a position I didn’t really envisage but that’s life, a whirlwind of changes and up and downs.

It’s time to break free from the structured life of intense training and my old professional life and find a new motivation or even a new passion to replace that of the wonderful life of a professional squash player.

Irish Times article




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