Rösner retires: German “Tree Chopper” calls time on PSA career
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
Simon Rösner, the greatest German squash player of all time and one of the nicest guys in the game, has announced his immediate retirement from the PSA Tour.
Paderborn-based Rösner, 33, is the highest-ranked German player ever and reached No.3 in the PSA World Rankings in December 2018.
He also became the first German player in history to win a major PSA World Tour event when he toppled Tarek Momen to win the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions inside New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal, which was his final PSA title.
Rösner, known fondly on tour as the ‘German Tree-Chopper’ has had a three-year unbroken run inside the world’s top 10 and, since making his PSA debut in 2003, has gone on to win nine titles from 19 finals. He is also the only German to reach the semi-finals of the PSA World Championships, which he did on two occasions.
In total, Rösner competed in 512 matches on the PSA Tour, winning 307 of them. Away from the tour, he has won a record 11 German Nationals titles, while he also won a Gold medal at the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland.
“I’ve decided to retire from the PSA World Tour and move on with a new chapter in my life,” said Rösner.
“The last months marked an unprecedented era for everyone, requiring adaptations in many respects. In regards to professional squash, the PSA did a tremendous job in putting up events during these challenging times, enabling the players to compete in safe environments.
“For me personally, having been a professional squash player since the age of 16 and having played more than 500 PSA matches in almost 17 years, the new situation – despite all its challenges – had its perks, too.
“I have been able to continuously spend time with my family and did not have to miss out on important events like my son’s first day at Kindergarten. It was also the time to engage in activities and projects outside the squash court. And I now feel it is the right time to continue that path.
“Looking back at my career, the highlight has definitely been the win at the Tournament of Champions at Grand Central station in New York. A moment that I will always remember and cherish and that I couldn’t have dreamed of when I played my first PSA match. A huge thanks to everyone who helped me evolve both as a player and person.
“Starting with my parents, my family, my sponsors, my coaches, my club (Paderborner Squash Club) and everyone, all of you out there, who kept believing in me and supported me throughout that crazy ride for the past 17 years.
“I know this sounds like a goodbye, but it is not. I will continue to play for the German National Team at European and World Team Championships, and in diverse leagues in Europe, but mainly for my home club in Paderborn. So you won’t quite get rid of me just yet.
“Take care, happy holidays and stay healthy everyone.”
PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough said: “Simon has elevated German squash to an unprecedented level over the past 17 years and he will be sorely missed from the PSA Tour.
“His hard work and commitment to the sport saw him become one of the main challengers to the Egyptian dominance we have witnessed over the past five years and his victory at the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions will live long in the memory. On behalf of everyone at the PSA, I would like to wish Simon and his family all the best for the future.”
Tim Garner, my Canary Wharf colleague and a long-time team-mate of Simon’s at Paderborn, paid a handsome tribute to his friend, saying:
“It’s always sad when players retire from the PSA Tour, but even more so when you also count that person as a friend. Having played with Simon for Paderborn for the best part of 15 years, I have got to know him really well, sharing the highs and lows of team squash.
“It’s been fantastic seeing the progress he has made as a squash player and individual since he arrived on the scene. He has always been an absolute pleasure to deal with on the events side of things, displaying trade mark German efficiency and professionalism in all my dealings with him.
“His heavy hitting ‘tree-chopping’ style of squash has been enjoyed immensely by the PSA crowds over the years and nowhere more so than Canary Wharf, where his name was often first on the entry list!
“Whilst he is being lost to the PSA tour, his family will benefit from his presence more at home and who knows, if I can get sympathy call-up, I may yet get to call him a team-mate one last time for Paderborn. Best of luck for the future Mein Freund.”
On a personal note, Simon has been a regular performer at Canary Wharf down the years and is one of the nicest and most popular players to have graced the glass court at the East Wintergarden.
He reached the final in 2015, finishing runner-up to Nick Matthew, and he has always been one of the easiest guys to work with, both on and off court. We have enjoyed some fun interviews in different parts of the world and I wish him every success in the next phase of his life.
Auf Wiedersehen, Simon.
Squash Mad readers are invited to leave their tributes to Simon in the Comments Section below.
Pictures courtesy of PSA, Canary Wharf Classic and Squash Mad archives