Commonwealth Games: Laura sees a silver lining in defeat

Laura Massaro’s mum, Jill Fairhurst (right), watching the Commonwealth Games squash final with friends and colleagues at the David Lloyd Leisure and Health Club in Chorley	Picture: Kevin McGuinness

Laura Massaro’s mum, Jill Fairhurst (right), watching the Commonwealth Games squash final with friends and colleagues at the David Lloyd Leisure and Health Club in Chorley Picture: Kevin McGuinness

First published in Sport

LAURA Massaro boasts a enviable record against Nicol David - the dominant squash player of her generation - but once again the Malaysian had her measure at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Four years after settling for silver, the 30-year old took second again as the world number one swatted aside her challenge with the sort of ruthless display on which she has forged her reputation.

Massaro has beaten David in five of their 28 encounters - a record no currently active player can boast. Indeed she had won two of their last five encounters, including the final of last year's British Open.

She even had a game point in the first set but David's resilience is the stuff of legend and she won three straight points before dropping just seven more in the next two sets to win 12-10, 11-2, 11-5.

"A silver is probably what I deserve as I’m second in the world and my performance wasn’t good enough to win gold," Massaro admitted.

"She's been the world number one for seven years for a reason, she never gives up and she's very hard to break down. If you get a chance against her, you have to seize it because you'll probably only get one.

"If I had nicked the first game it might have been different – you can’t afford to squander leads like that. I need to find a way of nullifying her speed and the shots she comes out with.

"It’s really tough both physically and mentally against her – you’ve got no chance if you’re not playing the best you can. I wouldn’t say I was at my best but part of that is down to how well she played and what she restricted me to.

"I’m disappointed with my performance – you go into a gold-medal match knowing the worst case is a silver medal but you want to win the gold. Ultimately my goal was to get a medal and I didn’t try to put a colour on it."

Massaro certainly suffered for her silver, taking a racquet in the face and expressing frustration with some of the calls made on the court.

The Commonwealth Games remains the pinnacle for squash players and the success of the sport here in Glasgow makes the International Olympic Committee's decision to overlook its valid claims for inclusion in the 2020 Games inexplicable.

Fast, furious and easy to understand. Accessible and cheap to stage - Rio's Olympic golf course cost £300,000 just to design and millions to build - Massaro and David prove it is worthy of a bigger stage.

"It’s a case now of going back and regrouping. I've got the doubles now, so I can try to put this disappointment behind me and see if there is another medal out there," she added.

"I'm playing with Jenny Duncalf and we got the silver medal in Delhi and we're desperate for some revenge here.

“I think these Games have been a great advert for squash. People like the feistiness and the characters and I've only heard good things about it."

* Commonwealth Games England (CGE) leads and manages the participation of the Team England at the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. We work with sports, Sponsors and Sport England to support the development of athletes and their sports, and to achieve success at Games-time.

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