On the 31st of December like most people I was looking forward to a nice evening with friends seeing in the New Year. However, it was made extra special by the fact a knew I would top the January Rankings for the 1st time in my career.
After 12 years on tour it’s felt like a long time coming. Nicol has headed the ranking for just over 9 years which is an amazing achievement and when she finally dropped to Number 2 in the World it was because of the amazing squash Raneem had played for the beginning of 2015. I had struggled my way through the first half of 2015 and looked on as Raneem and Nicol battled out many finals. Finally after realising something needed to change I took and break and came back fresher and stronger. Excited and raring to go for the new season.
The passion was back and I was enjoying my squash and the battles on court. It lead to a win in Macau, my first PSA title since winning the World Championships in 2014. It was a relief to get that title under my belt and I followed that with more tournament wins at the U.S Open in Philadelphia and the Qatar Classic. After I reached the Semi Final in Hong Kong I learned about the postponement of the World Championships. Extremely disappointed but I was then told that as the World’s was off it meant if I won in the semi final I would go to World Number 1. I instantly wished I never knew! Nothing to be done now and as it sunk in I relished the opportunity.
I never realised that I would have a chance to ‘win’ the World Number 1 ranking. I assumed it would perhaps happen with wins and losses out of my control. So, it was a strange pressure to have the match within my control…. and of course Raneem’s too!
I played well and knowing the quality of Raneems squash I could relax and know I would give it my best on the day to take the opportunity. For the first time in a long time, I won 3-0 to take the match! I was completely overwhelmed and happy!
Needless to say the next day was tough to re-group. Especially with Nicol playing very well! I lost 3-0 but I couldn’t quite believe the last few months considering how the year had started!
So, as the clock struck midnight on December 31st we toasted to a Happy New Year and to a new ranking of Number 1 in the World. Something I had been aiming for since I started out on tour! Now the challenge of staying at the top begins!