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15 Jul 2024

John White Bids For Home Glory With Secret Weapon

29 Oct 2004

Scottish squash star John White, ranked seven in the world, believes he has never been better placed to win his first British Open title.

The Harris British Open, the sport's most famous event, is being staged at the Albert Hall in Nottingham, just a few miles from his home, from 31 October to 6 November.

After first becoming the world No1 in March this year, White went through an indifferent spell, largely due to the lack of sleep brought about by the arrival of twins Max and Sam!

But his life is now almost back to normal - and not only will he have his Australian-based parents with him during the British Open, but he will also be unveiling a secret weapon on court, in the form of a new racquet made especially for him by Prince.

"I was really pleased to have reached the final of the Super 8 Grand Prix at the weekend in Manchester - it was a real confidence-booster. And getting a good eight hours sleep each night made such a difference, and I felt a lot better for that," said the 31-year-old Australian-born Scot.

"The last few months have been pretty hectic - with not a lot of sleep, and training being disrupted - but it will be great to have the British Open here on my doorstep for the second year in a row, and it'll be nice to have the family with me.

"I'll also have my Dad with me in my corner, which will be a huge bonus - it's two years since he (Ian) and my Mum (Lynne) have visited us from Australia. And knowing that Mum will also be able to help my wife Susie with the four kids at home while I'm playing will also be a great help."

"But it would be unbelievable to win the British Open for the first time here in my home town Nottingham - but I know how hard it will be, as there is tough competition out there," said White, who has already won all the other major titles in this country, including the Scottish Nationals, the English Open and, earlier this year, the British Nationals. "I've always dreamed of being the British Open Champion."

White has been play-testing his new racquet since first spotting a prototype in the Prince Sports HQ Office in the USA last year, when visiting the area to play an exhibition series with fellow Prince player Peter Nicol.

"I loved it the minute I saw it - and they said I could have a hit with it there and then. Literally within the first couple of strikes, I knew it was just what I wanted: It's a smaller head size from the one I was previously using - and at 140 grams, not so head-heavy. It feels perfect, and when you hit the sweetspot, it feels so superb," explained White, generally considered to be the sport's hardest hitter of the ball.

"Since I've been using it, I've been striking the ball a lot better and a lot cleaner. There's no doubt - this is the racquet for me!"

White will use the final version of the Prince M+ Pro for the first time at the 2004 British Open, in its striking bright yellow graphics. "It's actually got my signature on it - which I've never had before - it's a great feeling," White enthused. "I call it my yellow wand!"

Squash enthusiasts wanting to emulate White and play with the Prince M+ Pro will have to wait until next year as the racquet will not be available in shops until Spring 2005.