Manchester, let’s hear you! Squash star Massaro pleads for noisy home support at PSA World Championships

Britain’s highest-ranked female Laura Massaro has told MM that a roaring home crowd could help lead her to victory at next month’s AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championships in Manchester.

Despite the pressure of playing in her own backyard, the current women’s world number four is hopeful that she can succeed in regaining her 2014 world championship crown.

Compatriot Nick Matthew praised Manchester’s buoyant support in 2013 when he clinched his third world title – with this year’s watershed edition being the first to offer equality of prize money.

“There is an expectation to succeed from myself and the people who want to come and watch,” said Massaro.

“But you also get a lot of positives as well, such as the home support and the familiarity of playing at a place that I train at a lot.

“Hopefully I can draw more on the positives than I can on the negatives.”

The 34-year-old Lancastrian was speaking after the release of her documentary Warrior, charting Massaro’s journey to becoming World No.1 at UKFast in Manchester.

“It really makes you proud to see what you have achieved,” Massaro said.

“Sometimes as an athlete you don’t to stop to think about what you have achieved and how your career has gone.”

The three-times Commonwealth silver medallist began her squash career at the age of seven, practising in pub car parks while attending her local squash club.

Yet despite Massaro’s successes, which include reaching world number one in January 2016, the 22-times title winner admits that the thought of losing still motivates her.

“I am addicted to not losing. I really hate to lose. I find the feeling of losing worse than the joy of winning.”

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games double silver medallist is set to lead England squash at next April’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games – alongside the retiring Matthew – with the intention of attaining her first ever Commonwealth gold medal.

“I have got three silvers at home, so obviously gold will be the icing on the cake,” Massaro said.

“If I’m honest I probably didn’t think I would be playing at the Commonwealth Games coming up. I thought I would probably only give it another couple of years after Glasgow because I was 30.

“I just believe that while I am still playing at my best, still improving and still enjoying it, I can do it.”

Massaro, who became the first Englishwoman for 66 years to win the British Open title in March 2017, also told MM that she prefers her low profile despite being one of the most successful current British sportswomen.

“You don’t get into squash for the fame and the money,” Massaro said.

“I am never going to push for more recognition, I am really happy with what I have got.

“I feel a lot of pressure from myself and people around me even at the level I am at, so I cannot imagine what a really high-profile athlete must get.”

Laura Massaro’s documentary is available to watch for all England Squash members by clicking here:

Massaro will be playing at the AJ Bell World Squash Championship in Manchester between December 9-17.

Image courtesy of Squash Skills via YouTube, with thanks.

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