Olli Pett retires 2016

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Jul 2016:
Olli Pett hangs up his racket                   Olli Pett search

Englandís Oliver Pett has hung up his racket at the age of 27 after a squash career peppered with highs and lows.

In his junior years Olli was runner-up in the English U15 Nationals, represented England in the European Junior Team Champs, and reached the U19 quarter-finals of the British Junior Open.

He joined the PSA 2008 but his early years on Tour were marred by the tragic death of his father to Motor Neurone Disease. Olli committed himself to the sport in his fatherís memory, dedicating his victory at the 2011 Windy City Open to the memory of his father, and breaking into the worldís top 100 shortly afterwards.

He was active on the domestic scent, competing in the British Nationals, many BSPA events, and in the National/Premier League.

Olli rose to a career-high World #56 in Oct 2012, only for health issues, coupled with his mother being diagnosed with cancer, forcing him to be absent for two years.

He returned to action in 2014, winning the Keith Grainger Memorial Open Ė a win he dedicated to his mother. But a further injury meant another spell on the sidelines and a period that saw tragedy strike once again as his mother lost her battle with cancer.

He returned to competitive action once more a year later, reached the final of the Open du Gard six months ago, in addition to appearing at the Windy City Open as a qualifier.

His last PSA appearance was in April 2016 at the Keith Grainger Memorial, bringing down the curtain on a career that saw him compete in 56 PSA events, winning 105 of 158 matches and reaching five finals.

"It has been a difficult few months coming to this conclusion," Olli told PSA.

"I have been playing squash since I was a boy and it has been my life, and my familyís life, for as long as I can remember and itís always been more than a job for me, itís been my whole world.

"This has probably been one of the hardest decisions Iíve ever made.

"Although there have been ups and downs, I have always loved playing and loved the game. Sadly, my career has been plagued by injuries. From the normal tears, rips and operations to breaking my back to suffering a mini-stroke on court, it seems that I wasnít going to get a run without something niggling at my performance.

"Injuries are expected and although they often meant long periods of recovery, the first big blow was actually the death of my dad in 2008. Heíd been involved in my career my whole life and losing him left a gap. Mentally, it was very hard.

"I got my head down and worked hard. But later I had a few health issues I had to deal with, and at the same time, my mum was diagnosed with cancer. She fought hard and I fought hard too, and we got better together.

"But I was out for a two-year period. It gave me time to recover and get stronger, to start getting myself into the best shape of my life. One of my all-time favourite memories was after this period when I won the Keith Grainger Memorial Open back in 2014.

"That was an emotional victory and I dedicated it to my mum. I thought weíd come through the worst of it, I was back on track, I was feeling strong and I was climbing the rankings and chasing my dream of reaching the top.

"But I snapped my abductor and was sidelined for a year. At this time, my mumís cancer returned. Timing is everything and, although it was a miserable period in my life, my injury meant that I was able to dedicate my time to looking after my mum.

"It was precious time together that Iím so grateful for now, as she passed away last September. I cannot even begin to explain what losing her meant, or how my life has changed in the wake of her passing.

"So, the last few months have been a battle. Mentally and physically trying to get back on tour, Traveling with my siblings in January for the Open du Gard, my first tournament back, and then trying to find my form again.

"I was lucky enough to get a local spot in Chicago, where I could play against the top players again, which was an incredible moment for me.

"It summed up everything I loved in squash and why I had dedicated my life to it. But the squash court is an intense, competitive space, so while Iím still desperate to play, the physical and mental wear and tear of the last few years is beginning to show.

"Although itís a hard decision to retire, I want to thank so many people for the opportunities Iíve been given. First, my family, who have given everything they had so that I could have the chances I did. I want to thank England Squash who have worked with me since I was a boy.

"I want to thank Tim Vail for everything, without him I would never have been the person or player I am today. He has worked tirelessly with me and gave everything he could to help me succeed. He is an incredible person and I am lucky to have worked with him.

"I also want to thank the many physios and doctors who have worked with me and Greg Pearman, who has helped me through my life.

"But mostly I want to thank my mother. She was an incredible lady who was the brightest and most fearless person in any situation I have ever met.

"She taught me everything I know and without her I could not have pushed on as far as I have. So, thank you Mum.

"I love squash too much to leave it completely and there are new chapters to explore now. This puts me at an exciting crossroads. There are many aspects of the game I have always wanted to pursue, physiotherapy, psychology, maybe university. There are lots of things on the cards.

"Right now, Iím looking at staying involved in the game and coaching, helping develop the game in my area. I feel I have a lot to give still and want to be able to share my knowledge and experiences with anyone who is interested."

Keith Grainger 2014

Olli at the 2016 Windy City

Olli Pett search

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