20 Questions ...
interview, realised during the Chicago Tournament by our reporter
Kim Tunney, couldnít be better timed.
David Palmer has definitely closed the door on 2005, and commences
2006 with a big splash: a title in Chicago, his first since March
2005 in Kuwait, a baby on the way, and now the world number one
It took him four years to get up there again, but the man is back,
the man is happy, calmÖ In other words, tremble world, The Marine is
back in Success TownÖ
31st Jan, at Duffield:
"If I'm number one in February that will be great. I've got a few
points to go on and not many coming off since I got married and had
my honeymoon last January. If I'd won more than one of the five
finals I played at the end of last year I'd be number one already,
so it would be nice if it was to happen now."
1st Feb, in Belgium, after the news:
"All the hard work and training from last year has paid off. And to
go no. 1 again is a great reward to myself, and all the people who
have been involved in getting me there - Shaun, Mel, my physios Pat
and Tom and my family back in Australia.
"I will now have to train harder to stay there."
THE MAKING OF A WORLD CHAMPION
NEW David Palmer DVD
PSA Rankings, Feb
To start with, howís your ankle, as I can see you have it
Ankleís not too bad. I hurt it playing Darwish in Saudi when I lost.
And then, I thought it was O.K. and hurt it a little bit in
Melbourne before I came here. The ankle brace is just there for
reassurance. I havenít had a chance to see my physio in Belgium so
Iíll see him next week when Iím in Belgium. There are a lot of big
tournaments coming up and I didnít want to risk really damaging it.
So thatís why I threw the ankle brace on.
Looking back, were you happy with your results in 2005?
I had a good finish last year, runner up in Qatar, runner up at the
World Open, US Open: Disappointing with Saudi. I had a chance, if
Iíd won the tournament I would have gone to World #1 so I put a
little too much pressure on that which is why I lost early.
What did you do over the long six week break?
I didnít think about squash. I really relaxed over Christmas with my
family in Australia, had a great time. I didnít do too much. Played
the Australian Open down in Melbourne, lost to Anthony [Ricketts] in
the final, so that was good practice for here. I just sort of came
here Chicago with no pressure.
Earlier during the Chicago tournament, you told me that you
thought Thierry Lincou might win as the pressure was on him. Given
your draw, were you throwing out a decoy to the media?
All week the talkís been on Ricketts, Jonathon and Shabana so it was
nice that no one considered that I might make it through and pick me
to win. So it was nice not to be in the limelight, as maybe in the
past I have. I had a good draw, thereís no question about that. My
early rounds were good and I obviously played well against Jon. So I
was glad to wrap it up here.
Whatís your head-to-head record against Power?
I really donít know. Over the past four or five years, itís probably
been 50-50. He beat me obviously early in my career when I was
coming up at least the first four or five times that I played him.
But since then, I feel I might be a little ahead, I reckon.
At the end of the day, we both enjoy playing each other, and we both
sit back when itís done and dusted and think that was enjoyable.
How did you keep your composure in the final?
Throughout my career, Iíve been a little up and down handling
situations like that and itís obviously hard to not get involved
with the referee and not get angry. In the past, itís cost me a lot
of matches and a lot of tournaments. I do a lot of mental work with
Joe Shaw. Iíve learned a lot from him and Shaun Moxham.
I knew Jonathon was going to stir me up. Heís done that in the past;
thatís his game. And if I were to talk back to him or get angry that
would just encourage him more. And it would make it harder for me to
win. I was really happy that I kept calm and kept my mouth quiet. I
disagreed with a lot of decisions tonight but I put it behind me and
whatever anyone wants to say about the reason why I won that much, I
think that (staying composed) was the main reason why I won tonight.
Do you think that your ability to stay composed now will help you
get back to World # 1?
Yeah, thatís the game plan. I play my best squash when Iím relaxed
and calm and not focusing on the referee; just focusing on my
opponent. When I do that and put my mind to it then I feel that Iím
hard to beat; when Iím feeling physically in good shape and my
mindís set, and then Iím one of eight guys who can win tournaments.
Where are you in your career right now?
Iím 29 and I feel that Iím about half way through my career. Iíve
been on the tour for ten years. Iíve been at the top for about five
years now and found a lot of titles and feel that with my body and
mind I could keep playing for another three or four years, maybe.
After three or four years, were do you want to be?
Iím not trying to think too far ahead. I just try to take short
periods at a time. I take a look at the tournaments for the year and
try and peak for titles like the British Open, World Open and this
year we have the Commonwealth Games in March in Melbourne. Thatís
pretty important since itís in Australia.
As long as I still get a kick out of the competition, like tonightís
match, and the training and the hard work, Iíll keep playing. And
when the day comes when I donít enjoy it, then Iíll do something
else with my life.
Are you looking forward to fatherhood?
Definitely, yes! I think this is why I did well this week.
Do you have any of your names picked out for baby?
Do you know if itís a boy or a girl?
No, we donít have any names picked out and we donít know if itís a
boy or a girl. Last week we had an ultrasound and my wife Mel wasnít
too keen on knowing so we decided to opt for a surprise. Weíre
tossing around a few names. We have a few more boysí names but weíre
a bit short on girlsí names. So Iím going to have to look at a few
books I think.
COMING UP TOURNAMENTSÖ
Where do you head from here?
Yeah, back to Belgium. I decided not to play Canary Wharf as I want
to train for a few weeks with Shaun. I havenít seen him for a few
weeks. And go over some basic stuff. And then built it back up
(peak) for New York and the TOC and thereís not much break there
between that and the Commonwealth Games. And Iíll hopefully use New
York as a tune up for the Commonwealth Games
What do you think your chances are in New York?
Iíve never won in New York. Itís a bit of a Ďbogeyí tournament for
me. I made the semis last year but Iíve never made the final.
So what are you going to do differently this time to prepare?
Iím going to keep working on my maintaining my composure. And Iím
not going to change anything. Iím going to work harder now and not
sit back. Train hard these next three weeks. Like everyone else,
when I lose early in a tournament, try to train hard to get that
edge again. So the worst thing I can do is sit back now. Because
Iíve got eight guys on my butt who will be trying to knock me out.
Iím not going to sit back. Iím going to go home then really train
hard for three weeks. And try to do everything a little bit better
again. Squash is a game that you never play perfect. So thereís
still room for improvement.
JAHANGIR OR JANSHER
Who do you think was the better player:
Jahangir or Jansher khan?
I didnít play either of them. And didnít ever see either of them
play. Going off statistics Jahangir for sure. The most impressive
thing about him is going unbeaten for five years, knowing what it is
to just win five matches in a row. Probably no one could beat
Do you think the game has changed since then?
Back then the game was more attrition. Different game, lower tin,
different court, lower scoring, the racquets are better: So we play
a different kind of game. Theyíd grind it out for hours and hours.
We hit the ball harder; weíre attacking a lot more. They were
probably fitter then we are. But no one back then played a rally
like Willstrop, Power and myself have. Thereís no way to say, they
couldnít play like that. Itís just to say thatís the way it was.
Itís like asking if McEnroe would beat Federer. Who knows?
In speaking with other Australian players, it seems there is a
perceived disadvantage to flying over to the States to play in an
event due to the long flight and jet lag issues. What do you think?
I never get home very often. Itís the disadvantage that all the
Australian boys have as weíre always away. The English guys get to
go home every week. Weíre on the road. O.K, I have a base in
Belgium, but I only see my family one month out of the year. So when
I do go home I relax and feel good.
Which Australian squash great to you admire the most?
Itís hard to say. I never saw Geoff Hunt play at his best. I saw
Brett Martin play and Rodney Eyles play; didnít see much of Rodney
because he was off the tour when I came on. Iíve just seen them on
videos like the majority of people.
In another sport, is their an Australian sport hero that you
In golf, I like Greg Norman. I follow his career very closely and
try and copy a lot of things he does. There have been a few tennis
players like Pat Rafter that I really think do Australia proud.
Whatís your favorite place in Australia?
Itís a place called
Pelican Waters, Queensland and itís where I want to buy my dream
home. And where I want to live if I could ever afford it. I
need to win more and more of these tournaments to do that! Thatís
why I keep playing. Thatís my dream; just a small little place on
the beach. Itíd be a dream to live there one day.
Thanks David ...