Power Confirms Withdrawal From Bermuda Masters & Super Series Finals
6 Mar 2006
The world's number one squash player Jonathon Power - who shocked the sport during last week's Bear Stearns Tournament of Champions in New York by announcing his retirement - has today confirmed that he will compete in neither the Virtual Spectator Bermuda PSA Masters in April, in which he would have been the top seed and defending champion, nor the Brit Insurance Super Series Finals in May, for which he was the top qualifier.
The 31-year-old from Montreal will assume the role of president of SquashPower LLC, an integrated squash marketing and development company dedicated to growing the sport. He takes up his new position on April 1st.
"Jonathon's decision to retire from the PSA circuit signifies the end of an era in the professional game," said the Professional Squash Association's Chief Executive Gawain Briars. "Whilst his form has been understandably patchy in this last period due to ongoing injury issues, his mercurial talent was still sufficient to elevate him again to the pinnacle number one position in the world which he regained again this March.
"Jonathon has been the iconic figure of his time and his much publicised and acknowledged brand of showmanship and extraordinary racket skills have carved him out a special place in the hearts of fans, not just in squash but throughout sport in general.
"He has played consistently over many years, sustaining a punishing schedule of travel to all corners of the world as he plied his trade and spread the message of our sport to all. A professional squash player's span is limited and it can be said that Jonathon has maximised his potential and time on the circuit to the greatest effect.
"The Professional Squash Association has been honoured to include as one of its hallmark members over this lengthy period Jonathon Power, and we all wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours," concluded Briars.
A legend in the sport, Power started playing squash at the age of seven on the Canadian military base where his father was director of athletics. Since turning pro at 16, he has won 37 PSA Tour titles, including the World Open crown in 1998. In addition, he claimed the Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2002 as well as six Canadian National titles. Jonathon is the most successful North American player of all-time.
"Retiring has been a very difficult decision for me," said Power. "But I recognise that, with my health being strong, I can use this next phase of my life as an active ambassador and catalyst for the growth of squash."
He added: "There are plans for an increase in exhibitions, club outreaches, educational sessions, clinics and a farewell tour to give more back to the fans that have been so great to me around the world."
Power won five PSA Tour titles last year and climbed back to the number one spot in the world rankings for the first time in four years. It was the longest gap between successive number one rankings since the rankings were established in the early eighties. He also became the oldest player to top the rankings. He maintained his great run in 2006, reaching the finals of the opening two tournaments of the year before the Tournament of Champions.
One of the greatest sport rivalries in recent years were the epic battles between Power and England's Peter Nicol, the Ali-Frazier equivalent for squash fans. They evenly split their head-to-head battles at 20 wins apiece.
A long-time Toronto resident, Power was also one of the most entertaining players in pro squash. Aside from his dazzling play, he was famous for his humorous bantering with opponents and officials, and infamous at times for his temper tantrums which drew a comparison to tennis great John McEnroe. But it all helped popularise the sport throughout the world.
"I'm still able-bodied, playing well and still ranked No1 in the world," Power told CBC. "I can lend my knowledge and expertise to help create hopefully another Canadian world champion to follow in my footsteps."
Linda MacPhail, executive director of Squash Canada, is pleased that Power will stay associated with the sport. "We've been so lucky to have Jonathon compete at the national and international levels," said MacPhail. "He has been a role model to our junior and aspiring athletes through his career, and to world number one. We look forward to a new and exciting relationship with Jonathon, working with him and SquashPower to promote squash in Canada."
Segun Maku, CEO of Squash Power, said: "Working with the SquashPower management team, we have spent the last six months analysing market opportunities, the needs of the squash community and our role as a catalyst for integration and expansion of the sport. The addition of Jonathon is timely and will certainly add to our growth in the marketplace."
Power credited five people for his success: His wife Sita, fellow Canadian player Graham Ryding, his parents and his coach Mike Way.
"It is those five people to whom I owe a world of gratitude. They are the ones who have helped and supported me along the way," added the retiring squash great.