No.1 not a priority for squash ace Laura

Laura Massaro
Laura Massaro
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Chorley squash ace Laura Massaro admits returning to the top of the world rankings is not too high up on her list of immediate priorities.

Like fellow Briton and current tennis world No.1 Andy Murray, she reached the summit of her sport late in her career after a long stretch in second place.

For many years, she had to play second fiddle to Malaysian superstar Nicol David, who held the top ranking for nine straight years – her record makes Murray’s nemesis Novak Djokovic look something of a part-timer.

However, at the start of last year, Massaro finally stepped out of the shadow of David to become the best player in the world.

Her reign lasted four months before she dropped down the rankings to fifth in the early part of this season.

However, a successful second half of the campaign has seen her move back up to No.2 with next week’s final tournament of the season – the World Series Finals in Dubai – to come.

With Murray searching for form since rising to No.1 at the end of last year, Massaro can certainly emphasise with the Wimbledon champion’s current form.

“It’s a bit of a funny one,’ she said. “Once you’ve achieved the top spot it doesn’t become as much of a priority any more.

“If I put myself in contention to win the big events then I’ve got every chance of getting back to No.1, but it’s not something I’m focusing on at my age.”

Massaro, who at 33 is three years older than Murray, 
certainly has her work cut out to stay at the top of her 
profession.

Many of the Englishwoman’s competitors, including Eygypt’s Nouran Gohar and current No.1 Nour El Sherbini — are in their early twenties.

However, she won the 
British Open – considered to be the ‘Wimbledon of Squash’ – in Hull earlier this year for the second time in her career, which illustrates that she is still very much at the peak of her powers.

And Massaro will be the 
defending champion in Dubai and is eyeing up anther successful trip to the Arabian Gulf.

“Last year, if I’m honest, a part of me thought it will be a good little event to round off the season — a little trip to Dubai if nothing else,” she said. “Then we got completely spoilt. It was amazing. It helps when you win it, so that was good. I’m excited to go back again.”