Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Exclusive interview: Getting to know former world number two Jenny Duncalf

Tight shoe laces, dinner with Elvis and the Cayman Islands…11 points with world number seven Jenny Duncalf

By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Reporter

JENNY DUNCALF is a former world number two and has won nine WSA Tour titles. But how much do we really know about the two-time British National champion? 

In the first of our new monthly series, find out who the 31-year-old cites as her sporting hero and what makes Nicol David so difficult to beat.

World No 1 Nick Matthew leads England's challenge for Commonwealth Games1. You have won nine WSA titles but what has been your career highlight to date?

Winning the Qatar Classic (pictured left) was a big moment for me as it took me to number two in the world for the first time. But representing England in the Commonwealth Games was also pretty special as I managed to win two silver medals.

2. On the flip side, what has been your worst sporting moment?

I had to pull out of the semi-finals of the World Open a few years ago but apart from that, just losing matches really. Team events are quite hard to lose because you feel a bit more responsible.

3. You have endured several gruelling matches throughout your career – your recent five-game victory over Nicolette Fernandes at the Hong Kong Open certainly springs to mind. But who is the hardest opponent you have ever had to face?

Nicol David. She’s extremely hard to beat and she doesn’t seem to have many weaknesses. I think most players would probably agree as well!

4. If you hadn’t become a sportswoman, what profession would you have taken up?

From an early age, I loved sport straight away so if I hadn’t become a squash player, I would have been involved in sport in some way. I would like to think I could have played another sport professional.

If not, I would have probably gone to university and studied history as I quite enjoyed that at school. I’m not sure what that would have given me career wise though.

5. Who are your sporting heroes?

I wouldn’t say I have any sporting heroes per-say but I admire Roger Federer (pictured left with Nicol David). I think he is really classy and just naturally gifted. But in terms of squash players, I used to look up to Cassie Jackman. My step-dad used to coach her actually.

6. Who are your best friends on the squash circuit?

Alison Waters is probably my closest friend on circuit but all the English girls get on very well, as do the boys. I’m good friends with Nick [Matthew], Peter [Barker] and Daryl [Selby] so it works out quite well.

World Series7. What is your favourite squash venue on the WSA Tour?

I do enjoy the World Series Squash Finals because the court (pictured left) looks very cool visually with the black and pink. The Cayman Islands is also very special as well.

8. Do you have any superstitions or pre-match rituals?

I don’t necessarily have any superstitions but I have certain habits. My hair often gets in my eyes so I tend to wet my hair a lot to keep my hair back.

I also tie my shoe laces quite a few times just to make sure they are secure. But I think that is more because of an injury I had with my foot last year.

9. If you could make one change to the sport, what would it be?

To be in the Olympics…as simple as that.

10. If you could choose to play one person, past or present, in an exhibition match, who would it be?

I would like to play Heather McKay. She was very successful and I would quite like to see what sort of player she was.

11. If you could invite three people, past or present, over for dinner, who would they be?

Elvis Presley, James Franco and James Dean. I wouldn’t mind a King or a Queen from Medieval times actually.

Pictures by Michael Catling and Steve Cubbins (SquashSite)


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