Peter Nicol, Britain's most successful squash player of the modern
era, is planning to hang up his rackets after more than 12 unbroken
years in the world top ten but not until he adds another two major
trophies to his already substantial collection.
Nicol, the winner of more than 50 major international crowns, who
boasts 60 months at the top of the world rankings, will defend his
title next month in the
Mamut English Open
in his final competition on home soil, before bidding his farewell
at the Al-Ahram World Open in the sport's most spectacular
setting by Egypt's famous pyramids in Giza in September.
have had a wonderful career in squash and have largely achieved all
the goals I set myself, but I still feel I have two more titles in
me and I'm training as hard as ever to wrap up my competitive
career with two further wins," explained Nicol at a special
reception hosted in his honour by England Squash at the RAC Club in
"The Mamut English Open is important to me because it's the event
that my company Eventis promotes, and I want to defend my title at
the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield and there was no way that I was
going to pass up the opportunity to play my last event by the
pyramids, where I won three Al-Ahram International titles and my one
World Open trophy."
Twelve Years At The Top
Born in Inverurie, near Aberdeen in Scotland, Peter excelled at all
sports when he was a child and took up squash when he was eight.
After turning professional, he made rapid progress up the world
rankings and earned some 66 caps for Scotland before shocking the
sports world in March 2001 by changing allegiance to England to join
and work with the country's World Class Performance Programme.
He went on to win six PSA Tour titles in the year and the following
January regained his world No1 ranking, a position he held unopposed
for two complete years "none of which would have been possible
without the England support," explained Nicol.
Based in London for more than 15 years, Nicol rewarded his country
in the strongest possible way by clinching victory for England in
the Men's World Team Championships in Pakistan last year.
"This is my way of repaying England for all the support they have
give me over the years the programme, the funding, the coaching,
and everything else," said Nicol, who went on to earn 46 caps for
In March this year, he produced perhaps the most remarkable run of
his career when he won the Singles gold medal in the Commonwealth
Games in Australia, and capped this success by successfully
defending his gold medal in the Men's Doubles bringing his gold
tally over three Games since 1998 to four!
the singles gold medal in Melbourne was the best experience of my
squash career it's as simple as that. I was more passionate, more
open than I've ever been on court before it's the first time I've
ever been able to let my emotions go, rather than do 'the right
thing' by keeping them suppressed," said the 33-year-old who was
awarded an MBE in 1999.
"It was a different side of me that hasn't been seen before and
without that I wouldn't have won."
Though he has a number of exciting new projects lined up, Nicol
admits that there a lot of things he will miss about life as a
professional squash player: "For a start, the training always
related to my next event. That will leave a big hole I will still
do some training, of course, but there won't be the goal.
there's travelling the world, the camaraderie with other players as
you arrive at a new event to prepare for the event. And that regular
routine at an event of practising in the morning, then going back to
the hotel to relax and watch a movie then falling asleep in bed.
I'll really miss that!
"But whilst I'm really excited about moving into a new phase of my
life, I'm also terrified," admitted Nicol, whose career title haul
includes four US Opens; three Hong Kong Opens, Al-Ahram
Internationals, Super Series Finals and Tournament of Champions; two
British Opens, PSA Masters and British Nationals; and one World Open
and World Games trophy boosted by gold medals in the Commonwealth
Games singles in 1998 and 2006, and doubles in 2002 and 2006.
When Nicol began his remarkable unbroken world top 10 run in May
1994 (at No8), only four other current world top 20 players featured
anywhere in the world rankings and all were outside the top 50!
Peter Nicol has already identified three major projects that will
occupy his time in 'retirement'. In addition to becoming a Team
England Ambassador for 2010 for the Commonwealth Games Council
for England these, his services have been retained by England Squash
as a guide and mentor to the governing bodys National Academy.
"Peter will be teaching the best young aspiring players the business
of competing and winning in the World arena, a subject in which
he is of course uniquely qualified," explained England Squash CEO
Leading his new career will be a 'greater commitment' to Eventis
Sports Marketing Ltd, the company he founded with fellow former
squash players Tim Garner and Angus Kirkland. Launched in 2003,
Eventis already stages two major PSA Tour events the Mamut English
Open, at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, and the ISS Canary Wharf
Classic in London and last year launched the highly-successful
World Squash Awards in London.
"I'm looking forward to becoming much
more involved with Eventis than I have been able to be so far,
playing a more active role day-to-day and helping to develop new
areas for the company as well as expanding the relationships we
already have with our current associates," Nicol explained.
A new venture is Peter Nicol Squash Limited, a company he has
formed with David Weddell, the former team manager of Eastcote
Squash Club, the first ever English club team Nicol played for - 14
was some team including Paul Carter, John Ransome, Neil Harvey and
Martin Bodimeade!" mused Nicol. "David and I lost contact shortly
after that, but came across each other again recently and, over a
period of a few months, came up with the idea of a company to offer
management advice and guidance to younger squash players."
The venture, which has close links with racket brand Prince, was
launched with fast-rising Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar, who
now boasts a career-high world ranking of 12.
In October last year, Peter Nicol Squash attracted another Malaysian
star, the record two-times women's world junior champion Nicol
David. Within a few weeks of signing both to the company and
Prince, David won the British Open crown for the first time then
in December clinched her maiden World Open title to become No1 in
the first women's world rankings of the New Year!
"With David Weddell's commercial skills and passion for the game,
and my experience as an international sportsman coupled with the
strong link with Prince - we offer considerable expertise and
support for players like Azlan and Nicol."
Discovery of Power-Plate, a pioneering vibration technology fitness
concept, has led Peter Nicol to launch a further initiative: The
LifeStyle Centre Ltd.
Nicol was introduced to the Power-Plate concept by Swiss squash
international Lars Harms over a year ago with the result that he
incorporated the philosophy into his preparation for the 2006
"I started using it in January - it ultimately gave me back my
confidence and without it I would not have had the belief in my body
to achieve what I did in Melbourne," said Nicol candidly. "It's a
concept which can change your way of living across the spectrum
from top athletes downwards.
"I believe passionately in Power-Plate, which is why I am pursuing
this concept in the LifeStyle Centre venture."
Nicol, in partnership with Lars Harms, will open the first LifeStyle
Centre in London soon. The facility will offer a wide range of
health benefits for a broad range of customers.
am very, very excited about all of the new initiatives which are
going to occupy me from now on," said Nicol. "I feel very privileged
after all, how many people get the chance to start a completely
new life, like this?
"I have had a wonderful 14 years in squash and would highly
recommend life as a professional sportsman to anyone.
"But I have a smile on my face and I'm now looking forward to what
this new life is going to offer," concluded Nicol.
A Few Tributes
England Squash have led a flood of tributes that have been paid to
Peter Nicol following news of his impending retirement: "Peter is a
figurehead for all that is good in our sport," said Chairman
Jackie Robinson, while Nick Rider added: "Peter truly
deserves the tag of greatness."
Hogbin, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Council for
England, states that "Peter has been a terrific ambassador both for
his sport and for Team England," while Gawain Briars, CEO of
the Professional Squash Association, points out that he "has been
the model player of his generation", and World Squash Federation CEO
Christian Leighton says that "Peter has become the ultimate
Of the players that have come forward, former England team captain
Chris Walker said: "What Peter has done for the game cannot
be underestimated," and current England team-mate Lee Beachill
believes that Nicol has "earned the right to be named as one of the
best players to ever play the game".
Andy Bunting of Prince Sports feels that Peter "will leave a
void almost impossible to fill", while Neil Harvey, Nicol's coach
from 1992 to 2002, points out that he is "one of the most generous
people I have ever met".
promoters also speak highly of the Englishman: Heather Deayton,
promoter of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Open, commented that "not
only was Peter a role model sportsman on the court, but while off
the court he put tremendous effort into promoting the game".
Leading US promoter John Nimick said that Squash "has been
blessed to have more than a decade of Peter's positive influence and
Not all have been wholly complimentary of Peter Nicol: England
team-mate James Willstrop points out that "his dress sense
leaves much to be desired"!
But the last word is left to Jonathon Power, Nicol's lifelong
rival from Canada, who also recently
announced his retirement: "I think if we could have put together
his strengths and mine we probably could have made a decent player!"