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G.O.A.T: The Contenders 1980 – 1999 – Part Two

Over the coming weeks, we’re giving you the chance to decide the greatest players in squash history as we take a look at the achievements and legacies of some of the most recognisable names ever to take to a squash court.

Last week we looked at some of the outstanding squash players to have graced the courts between 1960-1979 in part two of our public vote.

You can also vote for the pre-1960s era here.

We’re onto the 1980-1999 era now and will relive the achievements of some of the best players to have competed during that era.

You can read part one from this era here.

You can then determine the top players in a public vote at the end of the week.

Peter Nicol

Nationality: Scottish
Highest World Ranking: #1
World Open titles: 1
World Open finals: 3
British Open titles: 2
British Open finals: 5
Commonwealth Games Gold Medals: 4

Peter Nicol is one of the legends of this era of squash and during his illustrious career he won one World Open title, two British Open titles and four Commonwealth Games Gold Medals.

Born in Scotland in 1973, Nicol is widely considered to be one of the most outstanding international squash players of his time.

He was well known for his excellent retrieving game, as well as being an extremely tough competitor to break down. His rivalry with Jonathon Power was amongst the most famous and extended in the history of squash.

After finishing runner-up at the World Open in 1997 and 1998, Nicol got his hands on the iconic title in 1999, beating Ahmed Barada of Egypt in the final. He continued to hold the title of ‘World Champion’ through to 2002 as the men’s World Open was not held in 2000 or 2001 due to difficulties in securing sponsorship for the event.

Amongst his many titles, Nicol was ranked World No.1 for a total of 60 months during his career, including in 1998 becoming the first player from the UK to hold the World No.1 spot and a continuous 24-month stint in 2002-2003.

Other career highlights included winning three consecutive Super Series Finals titles (1999-2001), two PSA Masters titles (2000 & 2004), three Tournament of Champions titles (2001 & 2003-04), and two British National Championship titles (1996 & 2003).

Jonathon Power

Nationality: Canadian
Highest World Ranking: #1
World Open titles: 1
Word Open finals: 1
British Open titles: 1
British Open finals: 1
Commonwealth Games Gold Medals: 1

Another iconic player of this era is Nicol’s rival Canada’s Jonathon Power.

Power made history in 1999 when he became the first North American squash player to reach the World No.1 ranking. He also won 36 top-level squash events during his glittering career, including the World Open in 1998 and the British Open in 1999.

Power began playing squash at the age of seven and turned professional at the age of 16. After joining the PSA World Tour in 1991 he went onto win 36 tournaments and appeared in 58 finals.

The Canadian is considered to be one of the greatest shot makers in the history of the game, having perfected a wide range of drop shots and deception shots.

He was often a crowd favourite partly because of his emotional outbursts and verbal exchanges with referees which sometimes led to him being compared with tennis great John McEnroe. Power’s rivalry with Peter Nicol was one of the most famous and extended in the history of the game.

Power’s biggest career wins came in 1998 when he defeated long-standing rival Nicol in the final of the World Open and in 1999 when he defeated the Scotsman once again, this time in the final of the British Open to take the sport’s oldest crown.

Other career highlights include the Super Series Finals (2003 & 2005), the PSA Masters (2001, 2002 & 2005), the Tournament of Champions (1996, 1999, 2000 & 2002) and the men’s singles Gold Medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

In 2006, Power returned to the World No.1 ranking, four-and-a-half years after the previous time he was ranked in the top spot (marking the longest gap between periods of holding the World No.1 ranking of any player in history).

He lost the World No.1 ranking in February 2006 to David Palmer but regained it again on 1 March 2006 before announcing his retirement one day later.

Michelle Martin

Nationality: Australian
Highest World Ranking: #1
World Open titles: 3
World Open finals: 7
British Open titles: 6

Australian Michelle Martin was one of the game’s leading players in the 1990s.

She was ranked number one in the world from 1993 to 1996 and again in 1998 and 1999 and won three World Open titles and six British Open titles during her career.

Her parents introduced her to the game when she was three-years-old. She would often play squash with her family after school, and at the age of eight, she came second in the state under-13s championship. Her older brothers, Brett and Rodney, also went on to be top professional players.

She joined the Australian Institute of Sport’s squash unit shortly after its establishment in 1985 and was part of the programme for the rest of the 1980s. Her coaches there included squash champions Geoff Hunt and Heather McKay. After working in a bank, she began her professional squash career in 1987, competing in her first of six World Team Squash Championships that year.

In early 1990, she considered giving up the sport due to lack of progress (her World Ranking had been steady at No.6 for some years), until her uncle Lionel Robberds began coaching her, providing her with a rigorous training programme of running, gym work and physical drills. Following this, her confidence in her game and World Ranking began to increase.

She spent 44 months as the best women’s squash player in the world from March 1993 to October 1996 before England’s Cassie Jackman broke her dominance. She was also ranked number one in the world in 1998 and 1999.

Martin won three consecutive World Open championships from 1993 to 1995 and was a finalist in all the Word Opens from 1992 to 1999, except 1996. She also won six consecutive British Opens from 1993 to 1998.

She represented her country at the 1996 and 1999 Squash World Cups and won gold medals in the sport at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in the women’s singles and mixed doubles.

At the end of 1999 she announced her retirement, saying she had achieved all her goals in the sport.

Vicki Cardwell

Nationality: Australian
Highest World Ranking: #1
World Open titles: 1
World Open finals: 2
British Open titles: 4
British Open finals: 5

Vicki Cardwell is a former World No.1 squash player from Australia and was one of the leading players on the international squash circuit from the late 1970s through to the mid-1990s.

During her career, she won the World Open once in 1983 and captured the British Open title four consecutive times between 1980-1983. In 1980 she defeated Sue Cogswell, 1981 Margaret Zachariah and in 1982 and 1983 she defeated Lisa Opie. She also finished runner-up at the tournament in 1878 to Sue Newman.

Cardwell also held the World No.1 ranking for 12 months from March 1983.

Cardwell was inducted into the Australian Sport Hall of Fame and the Squash Australia Hall of Fame. The Australian government has also acknowledged her contribution and services to Australian sport by awarding her the British Empire Medal.

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