35-year-old squash queen Datuk Nicol David announced yesterday, 18 February, that she will be hanging up the racquet in June 2019
The World Champion, who hails from Penang, spent nine years at the World No. 1 spot between 2006 and 2015.
On top of her eight World Champion wins, Nicol also holds:
- Five British Open titles,
- Two Commonwealth Games gold medals,
- Five Asian Games gold medals, and
- Three World Games gold medals.
The Penangite also expressed gratitude for the support she received throughout her career.
"I love squash with all my heart, and it will always play an important role in my life... Thank you to all my fans, my supporters, and my followers for joining me on my journey throughout all these years," Nicol said in her statement yesterday.
"I feel that I only have this last big push left for the final season to give it all I have before I enter the next phase of my life," she added.
In light of her retirement announcement, here are some things to know about our very own squash queen:
1. She is the youngest person ever to receive the "Datuk" title from the Penang State Government
In 2008, The Star reported that Nicol was conferred the title in conjunction with the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas' 70th birthday celebration.
"The award came as a shock and I obviously didn't expect it... I was very surprised and flattered," the squash star said, according to The Star.
2. She obtained excellent results in school
3. She sometimes sketches on the squash court
4. She used her first big paycheck from squash to treat her loved ones
Nicol told Sport 360 in 2016 that she received the big paycheck after winning gold for Malaysia when she was still a teenager.
"First thing that came to my mind was that I didn't want to buy something big, I just wanted to enjoy it with my friends and go out for as many dinners as I can with them, treat my family and friends who have been there with me throughout," the squash queen said.
5. She loves hip-hop and R&B
In the same interview with Sport 360, the 35-year-old revealed that those two genres are her favourite.
Nicol then expressed admiration for American rapper Missy Elliot, before adding that house music is also on her playlist to keep her going.
The squash queen also revealed that she mainly uses the music application Deezer.
6. She loves Char Kuey Teow
Nicol told local site Buro in 2016 that if she could have one wish, it would be to have access to the signature Penang dish wherever she travelled to.
The 35-year-old, who currently resides in Amsterdam, also likes her Char Kuey Teow extra spicy with duck egg.
7. She was introduced to squash because she was "running around too much"
Buro reported that Nicol was introduced to squash when she was five years old, as she was "running around too much".
"A squash court was the only way of keeping me in one place. They just locked the door and gave me a racquet and a ball," the squash queen revealed, according to Professional Squash Association (PSA).
8. She was once contacted by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
"You are getting more famous than me," Badawi told Nicol during a phone call in 2005, according to The Star.
The former premier took time to contact the squash queen following her victory in the World Open 14 years ago.
"You are what I call excellent, distinguished, and extraordinary," he added.
9. She will still be contributing to the sport following her retirement
In her statement, the 35-year-old said that she will be working with PSA to raise awareness for squash globally, and to build a support team for professional squash athletes.
She has also set up the Nicol David Foundation, which aims to empower girls through sport to reach their full potential.
The squash queen will also be sharing her story, 'Nurturing Belief', through a series of talks and writings in the near future.
Nicol will be competing for her ninth and last World Championship title later this week. All the best, queen!