Chorley squash ace Laura Massaro has played the final match of her career - former world No.1 exited the British Open at the second round stage
An emotional second day of action at the 2019 Allam British Open saw three of squash's most decorated players call time on their glittering careers.
Chorley's former world champion Laura Massaro brought the curtain down on her glittering career alongside the legendary Nicol David and former world No.2 Jenny Duncalf.
All three bowed out of the prestigious competition - nicknamed the Wimbledon of squash - at the second round stage in Hull.
Former world No.1 Massaro, the most successful Englishwoman of the modern era, saw her career come to an end at the hands of Belgium’s World No.39 Tinne Gilis as she fell to a surprise 11-5, 2-11, 11-5, 11-7 defeat.
The current World No.10, won the British Open in 2013 and 2017, with the second of those wins seeing her become the first female English player in 66 years to win the sport’s longest-running title on two occasions.
In a speech full of emotion, the former World Champion said: "Hull has become a special place for me. My first British Open title at the then-KC Stadium was one of the best locations we have played in England.
"To be in two finals and to win it twice is just a dream come true really. There’s not many people that can say they have won it twice and I am hugely grateful to the [title sponsors] Allams and all of the sponsors, Hull will always be special for me because of the memories I have made here and it seems fitting that even though it didn’t end with my best , that the Allams were able to watch my last match and that it was in Hull.
"No one steps on court at seven-years-old and thinks they are going to achieve that. If hard work can get you anywhere, then it has been down to a lot of hard work. It’s been a complete rollercoaster, it’s been unbelievable highs and lows throughout my career and I’m extremely proud of my achievements – hopefully once it all sinks in then I can look back and reflect a bit.”
David, the iconic Malaysian who won five British Open titles and spent an unprecedented nine years at World No.1, bowed out after a 3-1 defeat to World No.3 Nour El Tayeb, with the Egyptian player winning 11-4, 11-7, 11-13, 11-5 to end David’s 21-year career on the PSA World Tour.
The 36-year-old was voted the greatest female squash player of all time in a poll conducted by the Professional Squash Association (PSA) last summer and ends her career after winning 81 PSA titles from 102 finals, which is unmatched by any other female player.
"The British Open was the thing that really kicked things off and winning that title gave me the belief that I could be one of the best on tour and gave me the confidence to win my first World title and get to World No.1," said David, the World No.18, afterwards.
"At the time, you just never quite know until you experience it first-hand, and as the years went by, that’s when I won my second World title and things really kicked off for me. It all really started from the British Open, I can’t believe it’s nearly been two decades.
"It’s a really special time for women’s squash to see the crop that is coming through. All the top girls are all gunning for that World title, British Open title, the World No.1 spot and to see them makes me so proud to have been a part of that group."
Meanwhile, Massaro’s international teammate, 36-year-old Duncalf, played her final professional match against World No.1 Raneem El Welily, going down in straight games.
Duncalf retires with 11 PSA titles and was runner-up to David in the 2008 British Open and 2011 PSA World Championships final, while she even took up MC duties later on in the day to interview David on court after her final match.
"Before I had my hip operation, I was sort of borderline retiring before the Commonwealth Games last April." Duncalf said.
"I needed a hip operation, and I thought I would see how I got on, but it’s a struggle playing all these youngsters, and I’m so pleased to be leaving the sport in good stead. We have so many different nationalities playing the game and I feel so proud to have been a part of it and it’s definitely time for me.”