After 12 years on the International Circuit, Dominique Lloyd-Water has announced her retirement from the WISPA World Tour.
Lloyd-Water, who recently turned 30 year old, has had an extremely successful junior and senior career amassing numerous prestigious titles along the way and representing England. She had a fantastic final win-loss record on the tour, appearing in nine WISPA finals and winning eight of them! She reached a career high ranking of 18 back in November 2006 and hovered around the top twenty for the next four years.
Dominique first took to the squash court aged seven near London, introduced by her playing parents. [Soft Break][Soft Break]A sparkling junior career saw her win two junior British national titles, become European junior individual and team champion, and represent England as a junior no less than 24 times.[Soft Break].[Soft Break]But squash nearly lost her to swimming as she was at regional level, but fortunately for squash she didn't like the early morning training before school started!
I caught up with Dom recently to find out her thoughts on her retirement and what she has planned for the future. Here is what she had to say:
Has it sunk in yet?
“It's been two weeks since I made my decision to retire, but yes it still feels very weird after playing professionally for twelve years. At first it was hard to say the word 'retire' and read it!!!! It was a long thought out decision though. I had been deliberating for quite some time about whether to continue playing the tour before deciding I'd come to the end of the road.”
What made you decide to retire now?
“After having a six month lay off from the tour in 2010 (from June to December) due to a foot injury, I got a taste for what life might be like without squash and whilst I missed playing, it was nice to experience a life without packing your bags every few weeks to travel somewhere to train or play. I found I really enjoyed being at home with friends and family. The injury happened just after I had bought a flat and with a mortgage to pay, I knew I had to find a way to pay the bills. I qualified as a Personal Trainer in 2009 and so when I got offered some work, I jumped at the chance. I found I really enjoyed it and when I was able to start playing again in January, I decided to combine the squash with Personal Training. Whilst I was enjoying playing again, I knew I wasn't as focused as before. The Personal Training was going well and I was really enjoying it and the thought of playing tournaments was not filling me with the same joy. This is when I started to question things and I think turning 30 in June was the thing that made me realise I am at an age where I have to do what makes me happy. I guess the injury (although a negative at the time) gave me an insight into other aspects of life which triggered the decision to move on from squash.”
What are you going onto do?
“I am now hoping to add to the Personal Training work I have already got. I really enjoy it, you can see all about it on my new website www.domlloydwater.co.uk!”
What have been your greatest successes in Squash?
“My greatest achievements in squash have been representing England (24 times junior and 5 times senior). Getting my caps as a senior means such a lot to me and I am so pleased I managed to play for my country over the last couple of years. I was part of the England team this year that won European Gold which is fantastic. I got to the semis of the nationals this year (2011) which meant an awful lot as that was the furthest I had progressed in the tournament. Beating my seeding to get there made it even better. I was European junior individual champion and team champion.”
What are you going to miss most about the tour?
“I will miss seeing my friends on the tour particularly the English girls with whom I have shared so many special moments with. Tania, Jen, Laura, Alison, Sarah and Emma have given me some great memories and I feel with the squash girls you can always pick up where you left off even when you have not had any contact for a while. Of course there are lots of other players I have known for a long time and I will miss....I have had some amazing times with players on tour. I will also miss tournaments where you get treated like VIPs for a week where the hotel, food, scenery, organisers are all fantastic.”
What are you not going to miss about being a professional?
“Most people know I have an unfortunate fear of flying. Ask Jen how many laughs I have given her on flights due to me becoming near hysterical. Unbelievable when you think of how many flights I have been on! So I won't miss flying and I won't miss the hours of travelling to get to a venue.”
What is your best memory from the tour and favourite tournament?
“Favourite tournament is probably Hong Kong. I love it there and I have really good memories from Mick (Biggs - her boyfriend) travelling to that tournament with me. Now I'm not playing it is certainly a place I want to go back to soon! The tournaments in Qatar hold really good memories for me as I always stayed with a friend (Maureen) along with Tania.”
And how do you think people will describe you as a squash player?
“I think people would describe me as a squash player as 'STEADY'! Who knows....I might be wrong!! A close second would be 'the most attacking player out there' (wink, wink)!!”
“I would like to say a huge thank you to my parents who have supported me through the good times and the bad with my career in squash. They have always been 100% behind me and always believed in me. Without them, I could not have achieved what I did. I would also like to thank my boyfriend Mick, who has encouraged me to work hard and believe in myself. He has been so supportive for the last five years.”
Everyone at WISPA would like to congratulate Dom on a wonderful career and we wish you the best of luck for your future as a personal trainer and in everything else you do.
Quotes from Players:
Dommers.. Aka scooo!! I'm going miss your weird and wonderful ways!! We have had some great fun times together and I will always remember the 'Girls' moment!!
It seems likes ages ago since the Middlesex days where we first got to know each other. They were Good times! Then training at Potters and you would panic everytime about those dreaded courtsprints!! Least you won't have to do those anymore!
Well done on all your squash achievements and good luck with everything you do now! See you for a Wagas!
Love Al aka mooo! X x
“I first met Dom when she was 7 and I was 9 on the junior circuit and we have been friends ever since. She was great fun to be with on the tour and she always managed to make people laugh! I will certainly miss not having her around and I know the other girls will too. There have been too many good times and great memories over the years to write down but Dom knows what they are! I wish her all the best for her new venture as a personal trainer, I know she will, and has already started to do really well. Happy retirement Dom and good luck!”
“Dom, you'll be missed on tour, loved having the battles with you over the years, from Home Internationals to Dutch league finals, I always enjoyed playing you and your fairness and grace with which you played would be a good lesson for any upcoming English squash player. I wish you the best in your next career, I 'm sure you'll take to it like a duck to water and your humour will get you far. I'll definitely miss the 'dom-isms' on tour, always liked having conversations with you at the tournaments!
Take care and enjoy the next stage x”
'Congratulations on a great squash career. We've had some laughs over the years and I was sad to hear about you retiring but I wish you every success for the future... Where ever that takes you. Good luck, love Laura.'
“How do I sum up the retirement of Dom Lloyd Walter in a few words? I haven't known Dom as long as most of the other English girls but right from when I started on tour she made me feel welcome and soon became a good friend. Tough on court, you always knew you were in for a battle and I never saw her giving less than 100%. It feels fitting that our last tournament together was representing England and winning the European Team Championships. But it is off-court that I will remember her best. I can safely say that nobody else on tour has ever made me laugh as much or as often and I will miss the fun we had rooming together and her completely unique take on life. I'm pleased she has found another field which she is as passionate about as squash though surely it takes a mad woman to enjoy running around the parks of Weybridge at 5am!? I know that I haven't seen the last of her so while this is a sad day for me personally it is a sadder day for the whole WISPA tour because with her retirement we have undoubtedly lost one of our most genuine and likeable characters.”
Dom.....I have been fortunate enough to have shared lots of years on the circuit with you. Many happy moments, a few teary ones after we lost matches....but overall my time with you has been nothing but a joy. I truly hope we will continue to stay in touch irrespective of your career change. There are far too many moments to list here that bring a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart. Our years at Cloisters Wood, then theres random coincidences with boyfriends and presents... :-) so many many more.... I will miss you on the circuit and wish you every success in your future endeavours. I have no doubt you will be truly successful. You deserve the best there is. You are so kind hearted and genuine and life on the circuit would NOT have been the same without you!! Thank you for the happy memories, let's continue to make some more! All the best. Lauren xx
Congrats on a great career Dom. You should be really proud of what you've achieved and how hard you worked to get there. I'm sure it must have been a difficult decision to retire (believe me I know!!) but I've no doubt you'll do well in whatever you endeavour. More importantly though you'll be missed by the players who knew you because you're just a lovely person and possibly one of the funniest people I've ever met...without ever meaning to be!! Good luck Dom.
Lots of love
I have known Dom for the past couple of years since moving to Guildford. Over the last 12months I have worked closely with her and really got to know her as an athlete an as a person. From afar she always seemed dedicated and a model professional. Since working with her she has proved to be this but also much more. She is honest ,gracious, kind, thoughtful, intelligent and humorous. All words that you would struggle to put in a sentence to describe successful sports people from other more high profile sports. It has been a pleasure to work with Dom as she always gives her all and is so keen to improve herself which in turn kept me on my ties and I will always be grateful to her as I have also learnt a lot from her. Finally I wish her all the best in her new career. With her personality and dedication I know she will be a success. She has been and will continue to be a fantastic role model to future squash players.
Graeme Williams (her coach)
I have known Dom for around 15 years now and the phrase that springs to mind as I look back over the years is 'never a dull moment!'. Since our days as England juniors through to recent times as senior internationals, Dom has always been a great friend, a true professional and a source of constant entertainment! Without a shadow of a doubt Dom will be greatly missed on the WISPA tour, there really is nobody like her. Many of my fondest memories so far involve Dom and that is of no coincidence...she brought so many laughs and moments to tournaments in a way I'm not sure anybody else could. As a player Dom has always been a completely dedicated professional and given her all to her sport, resulting in a hugely successful career and one that she should be extremely proud of. Dommers, I know the decision to retire was not taken lightly as much as your love for the game but I have no doubt that by using the same qualities you put into your squash career, your professional training career will continue to blossom into another successful passage of your life. It's a sad time in some ways, but massively exciting in others.
Lots of love Jenners
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images