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NAZA PSA Women's World Champs 2015(16)
23-30 April, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ($185k)

Massaro looking forward to World Champs Return

Womenís World #1 Laura Massaro is gearing up for a return to the country where she won her biggest ever title as she heads to Malaysia for the upcoming PSA Womenís World Championship which takes place in Kuala Lumpur, when she will look to recapture the crown she won in stunning fashion two years ago in Penang.

Massaro has been one of the dominant forces on the Womenís Tour so far this season, with back-to-back World Series wins at the Delaware Investments U.S. Open and Qatar Classic towards the end of last year laying the groundwork for her rise to world#1 spot in the January 2016 world rankings.

By her own admission, the Englishwomanís form hasnít quite followed along the same vein since usurping Egyptian Raneem El Welily at the summit of the world rankings, but she is relishing the chance to take to the court in a country that saw her defeat current World #2 Nour El Sherbini - who had defeated home favourite Nicol David in the semisto lift the sportís biggest prize back in 2014.

"I normally do quite well in Malaysia so Iím looking forward to going back there.

"I had a really good week in Penang when I won the World Championship, but it didnít all go my way. Itís easy to look back and think that it was all plain-sailing and I pulled everything together but I think I saved three or four match balls in the quarter-finals and managed to come through and win before winning the semi-final.

By the time I got to the final, I was extremely nervous because I didnít expect to be in the World Championship final with an opportunity to play it without Nicol being there because she had been in the last five.

full coverage of the 2014 champs in Penang

"There were quite a lot of nerves around it but I had a real determination to take the opportunity with both hands and it was an opportunity that you donít know how many times you will have with it being the World Championship final so I was very excited to do my best there and really fight hard all the way through.

I donít think it was probably the best match from either of us, but I think you get that sometimes in major finals where youíre both on there, things are edgy and thereís a lot at stake so I was happy overall with how I handled myself on the day to finally take the title."

"The first half of this season and the run up to Christmas was brilliant, winning two World Series tournaments and making the final of the third one [Hong Kong], and the fact that it culminated in becoming World No.1 was obviously a massive high and an achievement that Iím really proud of.

Since Christmas I havenít been as happy with my form and with how the events have gone. I havenít won a title apart from the British Nationals but I donít feel like Iíve been playing too badly, particularly in Windy City Open in Chicago.

"I thought I had played well all week and Nour was just really good in the semi-final so I came out of that feeling pretty positive.

Unfortunately, I got a little bit sick between Chicago and the British Open so it just goes to show that, if youíre a little bit off your game, everyone is too strong to be able to win.

Iím excited by the fact that Iíve got some time now after the British Open and before the World Championship where I can try and get back to some of the form that I had pre-Christmas."

Massaro has the advantage of being one of just three previous winners to take part in the tournament but faces a great deal of resistance with the likes of El Sherbini, who last month became the first female Egyptian to win the British Open, Camille Serme, the Frenchwoman who eliminated Massaro in Hull, and El Welily all looking to launch serious assaults on the coveted title, in addition to eight-time winner David.

This is the first time the 32-year-old has come into a World Championship as the number one seed but she insists that the experience of winning the prestigious title before has helped to take the pressure off as she looks to become the first Englishwoman to win more than one World Championship crown and take part of the lucrative $185,000 purse that is on offer.

"Iíve won the World Championship when I wasnít the top seed so that billing doesnít really mean anything, you donít get anything for that, but itís really nice."

"Itís a privilege to be able to see my name at the very top of the draw when the best female squash players are there as well. Aside from that, I know that itís going to be a really tough week.

"It would mean a lot to win. Itís amazing to have my name on that trophy already and I guess apart from myself, Nicol and Rachael [Grinham], no one else has got a World Championship title so, in some ways, it takes the pressure off when youíve already got your name on there.

It would be an amazing bonus to have it on there a second time and a two-time World Champion sounds a heck of a lot better than a one-time World Champion.

"Iím really excited for the tournament and Iím going to try and put in some good work now so I can give myself the best possible chance to do well in Malaysia in a few weeks."

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2014 champs
in Penang

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