LAURA Massaro has been named Women’s Squash Association’s world squash player of the year for the second time in three years.
The 30-year-old from Chorley earned the accolade for 2013 after winning the British Open and rising to a career high number two in the world.
She also won the Kuala Lumpur Open and finished runner-up in four other major events – including the World Series Finals.
However, it was her success in the British Open that was her stand-out achievement when she beat world number one Nicol David at Hull FC’s KC Stadium.
Massaro, who lives in Hoghton, won 11-4, 3-11, 12-10, 11-7 to become the first British woman to take the title since Lisa Opie in 1991.
She received the award from five-time World Open champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the Australian who is regarded as one of the game’s greatest ever players.
“I’m really pleased and honoured with the award,” said Massaro. “I won it in 2011 which was amazing at the time but this is also brilliant to win it for the second time.
“It was fantastic to be given the award by Sarah Fitz-Gerald who is a legend of the game and a friend.”
But the former Albany High School pupil will not let the award distract her as she prepares for the Women’s World Championships in Malaysia.
Massaro, who plays Vanessa Raj in the first round today, is on course to meet seven-time world champion David in Sunday’s final – but she refuses to look that far ahead.
“It would be silly of me to look forward to a possible match with Nicol because a lot can happen between now and then,” said Massaro who lost to David when the competition was last held in 2012.
“I am in a very tricky half of the draw and there are no easy games so for me, it will be a case of one match at a time.”
Massaro goes in to the World Championships in confident mood after ending her nine-month wait to win a title having won the Windy City Open in Chicago in February.
“It was nice to win a tournament again after going close a few times,” said Massaro who beat world number three Raneem El Weleily in the final. “There was a bit of pressure because I was seeded one in Chicago so I was happy to end my wait for a title.”