If you are looking to find out the greatest ever female players to have graced the squash courts, you have come to the right place. Below we have compiled 10 of the best women squash players with Nicole David leading the way.
Not too long back we did an article on the Greatest Male Squash Players of All Time and building on it, we bring to you some of the most prominent names in the world of women’s squash.
Here’s a list of some of the greatest all-time squash players on the women’s circuit.
With eight World Championship wins and five British Open victories, Nicole David is head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to choosing the greatest female squash player ever.
Add to it 81 PSA Tour Titles and runners-up position in eight World Championships and seven British Open, it is tough to argue against her claim to being the pre-eminent player in the game.
Before the Malaysian began her era of dominance from 2005 onwards, her potential was first seen in 1999 and 2001, when she became the first squash player to win the world junior title twice.
The first world championship win in 2005 took Nicole to the top of the rankings for the first time. During the period from 2006 to 2015, David held onto the number one position for 109 consecutive months – thus eclipsing the previous record of 105 months set by Susan Devoy.
Nicol David also holds the distinction of being adjudged the World Squash Association Player of the year on seven occasions from the year 2005 to 2012.
The remarkable levels of fitness and stamina were hallmarks of her game. The two coupled with a sound technique and game sense were the essential elements that helped her trump over her hapless opponents.
Possessing so many achievements to her credit, it is no surprise that the diminutive girl from Penang is widely acclaimed as one of the greatest sportsperson to have represented Malaysia.
Competing for recognition in an era which saw Australia dominate world sport in multiple domains, Sarah Fitz-Gerald created a niche for herself through five squash World Championship title wins and two British Open victories.
A former world junior champion in 1987, Sarah first announced herself in 1985 when she lost in the finals of the event.
While her run of winning World Championships started in 1996, Sarah won her first British Open tournament in 2001.
The legendary Australian signed off her career in style by winning the gold medal at the Manchester Commonwealth Games. The prolonged issues with knee injuries notwithstanding, Sarah pushed herself to become the biggest name in women’s squash during the late 1990s.
Before Nicol David set the world on squash on fire, it was Susan Devoy who held onto the various records. The New Zealander has four World Championship titles to her name along with a whopping eight British open wins. Such was her dominance that she won every British Open final that she competed in.
Turning professional at the young age of 17, Devoy won her first British Open in 1984. In 1985, she created history by becoming the youngest women’s World Champion.
However, for reasons not known, Susan decided to hang up her racquet just eleven years after turning professional.
Nour El Sherbini
Arriving on the world scene as a child prodigy, this Egyptian won her first title in the latter part of 2010. Ever since, El Sherbini has not looked back and has raised her game several notches up and is one of the best Egyptian players in the world (read on why Egypt produces some of the best squash players here).
With four World Championship and two British Open titles, this 25 year old is well on her way to re-writing history books. Considering her dominance and her young age, many pundits consider Nour El Sherbini to be the only one capable of challenging Nicol David’s records.
Her journey to stardom began in 2009 when she became the youngest player ever to win the tournament junior championship.
While she lost the first of her British Open finals to Nicol David in 2012, her first win at the event came in 2016. By winning the World championship the same year, she rose to the top of the world rankings and thus became the second youngest world no. 1 ever.
A worthy competitor to fellow Australian Sarah Fitz-Gerald, Michelle Martin has three World Championships and six British Open titles to her credit.
All three of those World Championships came in consecutive events from 1993 to 1995. Michelle rose to the number one rank in 1993 and continued holding it for 44 months.
Not only was she the finalist in all the Word championships during the period from 1992 to 1999, Martin also won six consecutive British Opens during the same phase.
Well before the Sarah Fitz-Gerald’s and Michelle Martin’s took center stage – Australia boasted of the biggest name in women’s tennis.
Heather McKay was the first ever winner of the women’s World Championship along with becoming the British Open champion sixteen times. What is even more extraordinary is that she lost just two competitive matches during her long career.
She also holds the record for going undefeated for 19 years.
Another statistic that evokes incredulity is that McKay did not lose a single game in all the 16 British Open finals she won.
Such was her dominance over the competition that, she even won the 1968 final against Bev Johnson without losing even one point.
Her supreme fitness which was the primary reason for her innumerable wins is further evident from the fact that she also represented the Australian Women’s Hockey Team.
Rachael Margaret Grinham
Another Australian player to leave a mark on the sport, Rachael was a part of three World Championship winning teams. Additionally, she also has four individual titles to her credit along with the solo British open trophy.
The year 2001 was a special one for Rachael as she defeated her sister Natalie in the finals of the Kuala Lumpur Open tournament.
Even though she lost a number of finals of big tournament’s to Malaysian Nicol David, she did hold the number one ranking for 16 consecutive months. Rachael added further feathers to her cap by winning Gold Medals in the 2006 and 2014 editions of the Commonwealth Games.
Raneem El Welily
When Raneem El Welily announced her retirement during the Covid-19 induced lockdown, it brought curtains to a distinguished career. One which saw her becoming the first ever Egyptian to become World No. 1. During her long career, Raneem won 24 PSA titles including a World Championship win.
By winning four titles in 2015, Raneem also brought to an end Nicol David’s unchallenged position at the top of the squash ladder.
The Alexandria born player chose to leave the sport on a high – by retiring when she was still ranked as World no. 1.
With one World Championship and two British Open victories under her belt, Laura Massaro is one of the best squash players to have represented England.
By winning the British Open in 2013 and World Championship in 2014, she became the first Englishwoman to hold both the titles at the same time.
In 2016, Laura reached the number one ranking, making her only the third Englishwoman to achieve this distinction.
The Lancastrian has also won three Commonwealth Games silver medals.
Even though Liz Irving was never able to reach the pinnacle of squash rankings, the Australian had a constant presence in a number of tournament finals.
During her long career, she played during the same periods as other Aussie legends- Heather McKay and Michelle Martin. However, through her consistent performances, Irving became a house-hold name in her country.
Irving was a part of the Australian side which won four consecutive team championships from 1992 to 1998. She continued to have an impact on the game by coaching Nicol David during different periods of her career.
Final Words on the Best Female Squash Players
Before the arrival of Nicol David and the present era of the Egyptian squash players, it was the Australians and New Zealanders who dominated the squash circuit in the previous century.
Players like Margot Lumb, Janet Morgan, Vicki Cardwell are some of the prominent names which missed out getting featured in this article, but certainly deserve a mention.