Chorley squash ace Laura Massaro is eyeing a return to the World No.1 spot after ending the season on a high.
After winning the Macau Open, the US open the Qatar Classic, Massaro climbed from fifth to the top of the world rankings in December 2015 with victory over reigning No.1 Raneem El Elily in the Hong Kong Open.
But she suffered a double blow in April as she lost the final of the Women’s World Championship to Nour El Shabini – and with it the No.1 spot – to the Egyptian.
But the 32-year-old star ended the season playing some of the best squash of her career as she beat El Welily in a nail-biting PSA Dubai World Series Finals finale in the shadow of the iconic Burj Khalifa.
And Massaro is keen to reclaim her crown next term.
She said: “It has been a pretty good season.
“There have been some really big highs and some lows but that is sport.
“Obviously I want to get the number one spot back – I didn’t just lose the final, I lost my number one spot.
“It is going to be another difficult year but I am going into it with confidence.
“I have played some of the best squash of my career this year and I played some of the best squash of my career in Dubai.
“So it is a mixed feeling at the end of the season.
“I’m playing really well and I’m feeling really good but it is important that I get the rest and I can take the confidence from Dubai into next year.
“I am playing at a good level and I want to build on that. There is another eight weeks or so until the new season starts and I have time to get back to that level.”
At the moment Massaro is enjoying some down-time and she says incorporating rest into her regime has been a big learning curve.
Massaro contemplated quitting the game after an indifferent season in 2015 but now she says that period of rest last summer helped fuel her impressive run this season.
She said: “I didn’t have a good 2015 and I maybe thought that could be it. But this season has definitely been up there and I ended it on a high with a win in Dubai.
“It was around May last year, I wasn’t really enjoying my squash.
“But luckily I have some really good people around me.
“I was at a sort of make-or-break place and I thought it was mental fatigue.
“I put my rackets away for five weeks and I went away – I didn’t feel like playing.
“But after three weeks I started to think about what else I wanted to achieve in the game and started to think that I would regret retiring so early.
“My coach said to me after about three or four weeks to take another two or three weeks off. I put in some really hard work and I ended up having the season I’ve had.
“Looking back, taking that break was one of the best things I could have done.”