WE are pleased to welcome our latest Squash Mad columnist, former world champion Cassie Thomas (nee Jackman). Cassie, who won the world title in 1999, now lives in Australia, where she is coaching and raising a young family.
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen I was asked my view on the state of the women’s game, it would have been very easy for me to make comparisons to when I was playing on the tour. This I will not do as the world is a different place from 10-15 years ago.
Saying that, the only comparison I will make is that in December 2004, when I retired, there were 15 different nationalities in the top 50. Whereas in the December 2013 world rankings, there are 19 different nationalities. A definite positive and for me, there are plenty more to focus on.
NICOL HAS RAISED THE BAR…SHE IS A SQUASH LEGEND
The women’s tour comprises of a fantastic group of athletes who day in, day out dedicate themselves to the game. They conduct themselves professionally both on and off the court. In Nicol David, who for me is a legend of the game, you have a player who has raised the bar and I’m sure inspired other players to train harder.
The emergence of the Egyptian players is exciting purely for the number of athletes coming through and their attacking style.
MY SALUTE FOR US OPEN ORGANISERS
When I saw that the US Open had equal prize money for the men and women it brought a smile to my face. I’m sure it was a real boost for the women and it was also great to see the support from the male players. I salute the organisers and I only hope that other tournaments follow their example.
WSA TOUR DESERVES MORE REWARDS
Squash as we all know is a unique sport in that you can put a glass court pretty much anywhere. In the last 12 months, the women have graced that glass court in venues such as Grand Central Station in New York, Queens Club in London, shopping malls in Malaysia, Drexel University in Philadelphia, Victoria Harbour front in Hong Kong, and the Cayman Islands. Surely a positive!
So, as we know, when there are positives there are usually negatives and it would be wrong of me to pretend that everything is rosy. The absence of the World Open is a big blow for the Tour and of course the players. As a professional player, you want to have the chance to be the World Champion of your sport and not to have that opportunity is a big disappointment.
Of course, the lack of tournaments is worrying and looking at the upcoming calendar for 2014 does makes poor reading. To have a professional Tour, you have to have tournaments for all the ranking players.
I have read with interest lots of opinions on what is happening with the WSA and what the solutions are. I could add to those opinions but that is for another day. I just want the women to have the tour and rewards that they deserve.
For more articles from our Squash Mad columnists, click here.