Women’s World No.1 Laura Massaro, the 32-year-old from Preston, says she cannot wait to compete at this year’s 2016 Allam British Open Squash Championships at the Airco Arena, in Hull as the tournament top seed as she bids to win the illustrious ‘Wimbledon of Squash’ for the second time in her career.
Massaro, who last week triumphed at the National Squash Championship in Manchester, became just the first Englishwomen in 22 years to win the Allam British Open when she defeated Nicol David to take the title when the tournament made its debut in Hull in 2013. Three years on she is hoping for a repeat performance this March.
“Winning the Allam British Open in 2013 was huge for me,” said Massaro. “To beat Nicol David, who was then No.1, in front of a home crowd in my first ever British Open final is something that I will never forget.
“Once you get on court you only focus on playing squash but when the crowd get behind the British players, especially in the latter stages, and become more vocal it really does give you an incredible boost and, as a player, it is a feeling that is hard to replicate at any other tournament in the world.
“That 2013 win was unexpected and exciting but I feel capable of being able to win this year also. Having two British Open titles would be very, very special. My focus is on playing my best and doing everything I can to make it happen.”
After winning in 2013 Massaro fell short at the final hurdle in both 2014 and 2015, losing to David and Frenchwoman Camille Serme, respectively, but despite those defeats she says she has nothing but positive memories from in time in Hull.
“I only have good memories from playing in Hull over the past few years and that helps me every time I go there because I only think of the tournament positively,” said the 2014 Women’s World Champion.
“Last year was also special for me because I came to the 2015 British Open after taking a break from the sport and there were high expectations of me. I came from 2-0 down against Nicol, in a match that is one of my fondest ever memories, to make the final and even though I lost that match it was another great memory in Hull.
“I’ll be the top seed this year and it’s a pleasure and a privilege to be number one but there are so many players with the talent and ability to go all the way that I know I can’t take anything for granted.”
The 2016 Allam British Open, PSA World Series tournament, takes place in Hull, England from Saturday 19th to Sunday 27th March. Qualification rounds will take place at the University of Hull on the 19th & 20th March while the main draw action will be played at the Airco Arena from the 21st March.
photos Janos Schmidt