South Africa’s World No.19 Stephen Coppinger has announced his retirement from professional squash after an 11-year career that has seen him lift 10 PSA World Tour titles.
The 33-year-old won his first PSA World Tour title in 2007 when he beat Hong Kong’s Wai Hang Wong in the final of the Buler Squash Challenge Cup.
Coppinger’s other achievements on the Tour saw him win 178 of his 307 matches and break into the world top 20 for the first time in his career in April 2013 – becoming the first South African to do so since the late 1970’s. The South African also went on to achieve a career-high World Ranking of No.14 in April 2015.
The 33-year-old’s last title came at the Charlottesville Open in 2016 when he beat Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly in the final to lift the title for the second successive year.
“I think the timing of retirement is always a tough decision for any athlete,” said Coppinger.
“It’s been a very eventful two years for me, particularly with the birth of our son Kai early last year and most recently our move to Austin. I guess that there is no better way to put it than to say that I’m happy with my playing career and I’m ready and looking forward to the next adventure whatever form that may take.
“First and foremost I want to thank my parents and brother, they have been my most staunch supporters and have often scared their own friends with cries of delight on learning that I had just won a match. They have also endured the inevitable troughs that come with the territory. Indeed, it was my mum who introduced me to the game all those years ago in Mombasa.
“Coaches that have made impressions on me and my game who deserve a mention and I’m very grateful to have learnt from: John Mulwa in Kenya, Mark Jardine, Simon Taylor and Titus Sampson at Hilton College, Nick Hynes, Matt Suckling, Kier Worth and Jon Tate at the University of Birmingham, Rodney Durbach in South Africa, Nick Taylor at Manchester, Pete Genever in London, David Palmer and Arthur Gaskin in Orlando.
“My current sponsors in Salming, Laser Logistics and Pro Bike Shop have been fantastic and I’ve been very lucky to have connected and progressed with them.
“My friends on and off the court and of course the new family has been a huge source of inspiration and fun too in the last few years, thank you Angela and Kai! Here’s to the next adventure of many.
Adding what he hopes to do following his retirement, the 33-year-old said: “Right now I am exploring ways to continue within squash here in Austin.
“I’m looking at ways to build the community here, start coaching in the region and hopefully bring some exciting squash projects – that have been lurking in my mind for a long time – to fruition. So it’s definitely not a goodbye to squash just yet, just a shift of perspective.”