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Greatest Squash Player: Ramy Ashour & Heather McKay Voted Number 2

Over the last month, we have given squash fans the chance to decide the greatest players in squash history as we looked over the achievements and legacies of some of the most recognisable names ever to take to a squash court.

We are now down to the top two, with the winners of the fan's vote being announced on Friday.

In case you have missed them, the results so far are below.

20th PlaceDon Butcher & Sheila Macintosh
19th PlaceRoshan Khan & Sue Cogswell
18th PlaceAzam Khan & Anna Craven-Smith
17th PlaceAbdelfattah AbouTaleb & Sue King
16th PlaceAhmed Barada & Joyce Cave
15th PlaceF.D. Amr Bey & Silvia Huntsman
14th PlaceMahmoud Karim & Nancy Cave
13th PlaceQamar Zaman & Janet Morgan
12th PlaceJonah Barrington & Rachael Grinham
11th PlacePeter Nicol & Vicki Cardwell
10th PlaceHashim Khan & Margot Lumb
9th PlaceMohamed ElShorbagy and Liz Irving
8th PlaceGeoff Hunt and Michelle Martin
7th PlaceGregory Gaultier and Laura Massaro
6th PlaceNick Matthew and Sarah Fitz-Gerald
5th PlaceJonathon Power and Raneem El Welily
4th PlaceJansher Khan and Nour El Sherbini
3rd PlaceAmr Shabana and Susan Devoy

In 2nd place….

Ramy Ashour

Nationality: Egyptian
World Championship Wins: 3
World Championship Finals: 5
British Open Wins: 1
British Open Finals: 3
PSA Tour Titles: 40

Described as one of the ‘most talented racket sport players ever’, Egyptian Ramy Ashour is unquestionably one of the greatest players of the modern era but a player who’s achievements could have been even greater were it not for a series of chronic injuries that have limited his playing time to just a handful of tournaments during the past five year period.

As a teenage prodigy – and the first player to win the World Junior Championship twice – Ashour suffered serious knee issues which forced him to adjust his style of play, an incident that led him to develop an unorthodox style that his rivals have described as ‘a total one-off’ while his enigmatic personality, often humorous post-match interviews and decision to spend most of his career without a formal coach have created a mysterious appeal that his seen him become a firm fan favourite worldwide.

After becoming the youngest World Junior Champion ever in 2004, he quickly adapted to the senior game and began to show off his unique talents in 2007, winning five major titles including the World Series Finals. In 2008 he then claimed the biggest title of them all with victory over Karim Darwish in the World Championship final.

He added a second World Championship crown in 2012 with victory over Mohamed ElShorbay in a thrilling encounter in Qatar that came when he was at the peak of his powers. During the 2012/13 season when he went 15 months and 49 matches unbeaten, a streak that saw him win nine consecutive titles and become the first player since Jansher Khan to reach the final in every event he played for the entire season. That streak came to an end at the 2013 World Championship when a hamstring issues forced him to retire at the semi-finals stage – a moment that signalled the beginning of a tumultuous period for Ashour.

A series of early retirements followed before he returned to full power with a seemingly unthinkable victory at the 2014 World Championship where, after a six month absence from competition, he returned to defeat Mohamed ElShorbagy in one of the greatest matches ever played.

However the injury issues soon returned and while at times he has shown glimpses of his mesmeric best, most recently winning the 2018 Grasshopper Cup without dropping a game, his body appears unable to withstand regular and constant completion play, leaving many fans to wonder just how good he could have been.

Heather McKay

Nationality: Australian
World Championship Title Wins: 1
World Championship Final Defeats: 0
British Open Title Wins: 16
British Open Final Defeats: 0

Heather McKay was one of the most unstoppable forces squash – and sport as a whole – has ever seen, with the irrepressible Australian losing just two matches in an extraordinary career which saw her lift a record 16 British Open titles in a row, while she was also the winner of the first ever women’s World Championships.

McKay’s two defeats came first in 1960 – to Yvonne West in the New South Wales Championship and in 1962 – to Fran Marshall in the Scottish Open final – with Marshall later saying that McKay, speaking in the changing room afterwards, vowed no one would ever beat her again.

And she stayed true to her word, going 19 years without defeat in competitive squash until her retirement in 1981. Despite standing at just five feet six inches and having a habit of chain-smoking, McKay’s physicality and hard-hitting ability enabled her to power past most her opponents, while she developed her racket skills considerably as her dominance grew.

The year of her defeat to Marshall, McKay embarked on an unprecedented run that saw her topple all before her as she avenged that Scottish Open defeat to Marshall by defeating the Englishwoman to capture her maiden British Open title.

Incredibly, McKay never lost a single game in the 16 British Open finals she won – dropping just 7 points per match on average – and she overcame compatriot Bev Johnson without losing a solitary point in the 1968 final.

Her final British Open appearances came at the 1977 edition – where she overcame Barbara Wall – and she returned to the court for the inaugural Women’s World Championship in 1979 where, at the age of 38, she dispatched England’s Sue Cogswell.

McKay’s book, Heather McKay’s Complete Book of Squash, was published later that year while she was also recognised with an Order of Australia (AM) to go with her Member of the British Empire (MBE) from 10 years earlier.

McKay was also talented at field hockey – where she was a member of the Australian Women’s Hockey Team – and racquetball, where she won multiple honours.

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