11:14 am
23 Jun 2024

Lancashire Lass Massaro Has Sights On British Nationals Breakthrough

8 Feb 2011

Unexpected international success last week in the USA, where she beat the top two players in the world for the first time, has given England international Laura Massaro a massive confidence-boost on the eve of the women's British National Squash Championship, which gets underway in Manchester on Wednesday.

And success in the country's premier domestic tournament would make the 27-year-old from Preston the first Lancashire winner of the women's title in the event's 36-year history.

It was on her return home from Egypt in December, after winning the Sharm El Sheikh Open in the Red Sea resort, that Massaro immediately set her sights on national success in Manchester.

"My training schedule was focussed on the Nationals - but I also decided to play in this month's Cleveland Classic in Ohio," said world No9 Massaro.

After beating Egyptian rival Raneem El Weleily in the first round, Massaro went on to topple England team-mate and world No2 Jenny Duncalf, for the first time in five years; then Ireland's world No7 Madeline Perry; before sensationally ending the 14-month unbeaten run of Nicol David, the world No1 from Malaysia, in the final

"I'd had good results before - but never been able to back them up," said the England number three. "So to do so like this was fantastic.

"To beat Nicol David anytime is good enough - but in a final is something that doesn't happen very often!

"I felt really happy afterwards - and had loads of emails and Facebook messages of congratulations.

"But I had to stay calm - I want this to be the start of something; I don't want to just rest on my laurels."

Massaro, who finished as runner-up in 2008, will be making her ninth appearance in the Nationals. "I've never felt I've played brilliantly at the Nationals. So my goal this year was to do well in Manchester.

"Cleveland was just a bonus."

Massaro admitted that, whilst playing international events is important to gain world ranking points, competing in the National championships is one of the highlights of the year.

"I love to support events that England Squash put on - the Nationals always gets great coverage."

"There are so many big names on that trophy - Cassie (Jackman), Linda (Elriani), Tania (Bailey), Alison (Waters) and Jenny (Duncalf) - it would be a real honour to win it. I would really like to get my name on there!

"England Squash put so much into the game, it would be nice to give something back," Massaro concluded.