Eight-time world champion Nicol David has announced she will retire at the end of the 2018-19 squash season, bringing down the curtain on the Malaysian’s illustrious career.
The 35-year-old is the most successful woman squash player of all time and spent an unprecedented nine years as world No 1 between 2006-2015.
David said she had thought long and hard about calling it a day. “This decision has been thought through for quite some time and I do know that this is my last season,” she said in a statement posted late Monday on the website of the Professional Squash Association, the sport’s governing body.
“My mind and body have battled it out to stay at the very top of my game for such a long time that I feel that I only have this last big push left for the final season to give it all I have before I enter the next phase of my life.”
David, the darling of Malaysian sports fans, has also won five British Open titles, two Commonwealth Games gold medals, five Asian Games gold medals and three World Games gold medals in a glittering career spanning two decades.
David’s reign atop the PSA world rankings came to an end in September 2015, but she continued to break records, achieving the longest unbroken run inside the world’s top five at 143 months.
David’s final tournament will either be the British Open in Hull in May or the following month’s World Tour Finals if she qualifies.
“She gave it all. When you come to her age in any sport, you probably have given it everything,” David’s father Desmond was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper.
David, who won her first Asian Games gold in 1998 at the age of 15, also said that she will continue to work closely with the PSA to raise the awareness of squash globally in an apparent reference to efforts have the sport admitted to the Olympics.
In 2012, David said she would trade all her titles for an Olympic gold medal. Bids by squash to be admitted to the Games have been rejected three times by the International Olympic Committee.
“Nicol is undoubtedly one of the greatest squash players of all time and her presence on the tour will be sorely missed,” said Alex Gough, the PSA chief executive.
David, seeded 13, will on Saturday in Chicago begin her quest for a ninth crown in her final World Championship.