SPOTLIGHT ON LAURA MASSARO
Laura Massaro (nee Lengthorn) started playing squash aged 7. She was quickly spotted as having potential and at the age of 11 she was invited to play for Lancashire for the first time. From then on Laura played for Lancashire regularly and was ranked at number 1 in the county in her age group.
“This was great and something I really looked forward to. From this point on life got quite busy and most of family life started to revolve around my squash. My brother Christopher played also and somehow seemed to get dragged along as well being 3 years younger than me,” says Laura.
There was no looking back from here and Laura was then unstoppable staying at number 1 in England in each age group throughout the juniors. She won the British title at under 14, 15, 17 and twice at under 19, making the semi final of two British Opens and runner-up in the European individual.
Laura turned professional after completing her A-Levels and quickly established herself on the world stage.
We caught up with her just after her recent victory in Cleveland, where she beat both Jenny Duncalf and ended Nicol David’s long unbeaten run.
Q: The win in Cleveland must also now go down as one of the highlights of your career?
A: Yes this victory means a lot to me. Beating the world number 1 is an achievement I will remember forever and to do it in a final is extra special.
Q:How does it feel to end Nicol David’s unbeaten run?
A:I didn’t realise she was unbeaten for that long. I’m proud that my name is among a few people who have beaten her. She’s such a brilliant player.
Q: You must now feel like you have a great chance in the National Championships?
A: My aim for the national’s are to reach my seeding and then have a shot past that!
Q: What is your playing philosophy?
A: My life motto is “you get out of life what you put in”. On court that translates to work hard and rest hard. I am someone who doesn’t give up and tries to work as hard as I can at making myself a better player.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: Hopefully still playing squash at a professional level and enjoying it. I’d like to think I might be starting to think about what I’d like to do when I do retire…… possibly cooking bakewell tarts in my own tea room.
Q: An interesting fact about yourself?
A: I’m a number 1 on the enneagram…… if you know what that is it will reveal some interesting facts about me!! If that makes no sense to you then another interesting fact is that I have become an baker while I’ve been injured…..bakewell tart has become my best achievement in the kitchen!
Q: What other sports do you play or enjoy watching?
A: I don’t really play any other sports as so much of my time is taken up with squash but I love to watch all sports. My favourites to watch are tennis, athletics, football and at the moment I’m hooked on the world snooker championships. I really will watch any sport that’s on TV!
Q: What do you enjoy away from squash?
A: I spend a lot of time with friends and family when I’m not training. I do a lot of cooking and baking so I quite often try new recipes and then get others to try them. I don’t tend to go out drinking a lot, instead I watch movies, go to the cinema and out for dinner.
Q: Professionally, who do you really admire?
A: I think Serena Williams is someone to be admired and that her achievements in women’s tennis have been amazing. She’s someone I’d love to meet.
Favourite ever film? The holiday….Chick flick!!
Favourite music? Pop….Leona Lewis and Florence and the machine.
Which 3 people would you invite to a dinner party? Serena Williams, Usain Bolt and Roger Federer.
Favourite Takeaway? Indian….yum!
Guilty Pleasure? Without a doubt….CHOCOLATE!
Looking ahead to the Nationals, Jenny Duncalf is seeded to win her third women’s title but will face stiff competition from the North West’s Laura Massaro who has just returned back to England after a fantastic victory in the Cleveland Classic. Seeded 8 she went on a giant-killing run dispatching England team mate Jenny Duncalf, fourth seed Madeleine Perry, ending in Laura beating the world no.1 Nicol David in the final.
Massaro who was playing in her first WISPA Gold final played the match of her life to beat David who had previously been unbeaten in 14-months.
The 27-year-old world No10 from Preston in Lancashire showed the Malaysian no respect to the world champion and stamped her authority on the game early on taking a 7-2 lead in the first before David scrapped it back to 9-9, Laura kept her head and took the first 11-9.
Massaro went on to take the second game before David took the third, albeit from a position of nine-all in the game.
In the fourth David saved two match balls from 6-10 down before Massaro clinched her historic 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8 triumph in 61 minutes.
Operations Director at England Squash & Racketball, Jim Lord commented: “Laura’s performances in Cleveland were fantastic. Beating Nicol David in a major final will have really boosted her confidence going into next weeks National Championships. All bodes well for a high quality tournament and some really interesting and competitive matches between Britain’s very best male and female squash players.”
Thank you to England Squash and Racketball