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

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.

Read part one from this era and part two

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

Rodney Eyles

Nationality: Australian
Highest World Ranking: #2
World Championship titles: 1
World Championship finals: 2
British Open titles: 0
British Open finals: 1
PSA Tour Titles: 14

A member of the Squash Australia Hall of Fame, Rodney Eyles was known as being one of the most clinic players of his era and one of Australia’s greatest ever players who was an integral member of the Australian Team during their golden era throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

The Brisbane-born Eyles began his professional career as a 16-year-old and finished as runner-up to Jansher Khan in the 1986 World Junior Championship – a man he would also lose the senior World Championship title to ten years later in 1996.

Collecting a total of 27 titles during his career, Eyles reached a high of World No.2 – spending the bulk of his career behind Jansher Khan on the standings – but tasted the pinnacle of success both both individually and while representing his nation when he lifted the 1991 World Team Championship as member of the Australian squash when he triumphed in the World Championship title in 1997, defeating Peter Nicol in the final.

A year later Eyles collected a Silver Medal in the 1998 Commonwealth Games Doubles competition, retiring two years later in 2000.

Rodney Martin

Nationality: Australian
Highest World Ranking: #2
World Open titles: 1
World Open finals: 0
British Open titles: 0
British Open finals: 3
PSA Tour Titles: 10

Another Australian great, Rodney Martin was one of his country’s greatest players and one whose achievements could have been significantly greater had he not burst onto the scene during an era that saw both Pakistani legends Jahangir and Jansher Khan at the very top of their games.

Martin was one of the three Australians – with Chris Dittmar and Chris Robertson – at the time who constantly strove to improve their levels in their quest to dethrone the Khans from the top of the game throughout the 80s and 90s, a feat that frequently seemed out of reach with Martin losing three British Open finals at the hands of Jahangir.

But, in 1991, Martin shook up the squash world to win the World Championship against all odds and become just the second Australian – after the great Geoff Hunt – to get his name on the prestigious trophy.

In that event Martin downed two-time defending champion and then then World No.1 Jansher in the quarters – coming through with an emphatic 34-minute victory. But, far from seeing the finish line, he then lined up against compatriot Dittmar in the semi-finals – going 0-10 down in the opening game.

Martin though came back to take the next three games and secure his place in the final against Jahangir – a man he had previously failed to beat in any big final, including the three British Open battles.

Again Martin lost the opening game, but came back to win 3-1 and secure an unlikely World Championship crown.

Further success at the highest level was denied to the Aussie however as injury forced him into retirement in 1994 – when ranked no.2 in the World – though his influence on the game continued as he took up a coaching role with the Australian Institute of Sport before basing himself in the United States where he works with top flight players such as Ryan Cuskelly.

Martine Le Moignan

Nationality: English
Highest World Ranking: #2
World Open titles: 1
World Open finals: 2
British Open titles: 0
British Open finals: 3
PSA Tour Titles: 4

The first Englishwoman to win the prestigious World Championship crown, when she halted Susan Devoy with a 3-1 victory on the 1989 Championship final, Martine Le Moignan was one of England’s top female players during the 1980s alongside Lisa Opie and Sue Cogswell.

In an effort to defend her crown she again reached the final in 1990, this time falling to Devoy in the final.

Cassie Jackman

Nationality: English
Highest World Ranking: #1
World Open titles: 1
World Open finals: 4
British Open titles: 0
British Open finals: 2
PSA Tour Titles: 28

One of the most successful English players of all-time, Cassie Jackman was England’s leading female player throughout the 1990s and early 00s, holding the World No.1 ranking for 16 months – the sixth longest reign in rankings history,

Cited by player like Laura Massaro and Alison Waters as the player who inspired them when growing up and coming through the ranks, Jackman triumphed at the World Junior Championship in 1991, a victory that paved the way for what was to follow during a very successful career that sees her sixth in the all-time title-winners charts.

She reached the final of the senior World Championship for the first time in 1994, losing to Michelle Martin, before appearing in the title-decider again two years late run 1996 – this time losing out to Sarah Fitz-Gerald.

However she continued to go from strength-to-strength and won a Gold Medal in the doubles, and Bronze in the singles, at the 1998 Commonwealth Games before winning the World Championship on the third time of asking, defeating Martin to avenge the result of 1994 and claim the most prestigious title in the sport.

A back injury suffered in 2000 ended her stint atop the World Rankings, but she came back better than ever and regained the top ranking spot again in 2004 – a year that also saw her win the World Series Finals – but a third recurrence of her back injury later that year forced her to retire from the competitive game whilst holding the World No.2 ranking spot.

She was also awarded an MBE for services to British sport during 2004.

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