British Open 2008
Kudos to Nicol for winning the British title for the 3rd time. She was absolutely dominant in the finals barring a slight lapse of concentration in the 2nd game. (Full reports and results available at http://www.britishopensquash.com/)
But the real surprises came in the men's event where Malaysia had 3 men in the main draw, Beng Hee, Azlan and Nafiizwan aka Wan. This is the the 1st time ever that 3 Malaysiana have made it to the 1st round proper of this tournament. Beng Hee was defeated by Wilstrop, who was in the finals, in the last 16 while Azlan beat an injury bearing Ramy to get to the quarters only to lose to Lincou in a tight match.
But it was Wan who stole the limelight from his fellow compatriots when he qualified for the 1st round and lost to eventual champion, Palmer. Here are some quotes about him.
ALL THE RESPECT…
David Palmer is one of the most professional players on the circuit, and that, my friend, starts with not taking any opponent lightly, and making it as hard for them as possible.
And today, that’s exactly what the number 5 in the world did against Wan, ranked 70. He applied pressure from the start, took a good lead every time, and although the Malaysian was able to wrong foot him several times, and also found some lovely short shots, David never left the head of the race….
On a personal note, we saw today how fair and honest that young player is, as several times I know a few players who would have asked lets for some shots, but he never asked for, and on the last shot of the second game, David, who couldn’t see his own shot at the front, asked Wan if the ball was good. Would have been so easy for him to say, “not sure”. But he said, “yes yes, absolutely”…
Like I told you yesterday, a real gem that Wan is, and I hope he’ll do well on the circuit, we need players like him… From Squashsite
And this is from Palmer:
"I had a few bad results in my last events, so I’ve got to do everything possible to find my form again…
"I didn’t see him play, but I knew he is training with Peter Genever and Azlan, and I knew he had to be a good player. I tried to play a few hard rallies each game to keep him under pressure, and that paid off.
"He was probably a bit tired from the two qualifier rounds, but for what I could judge, he is pretty explosive, and I made sure that I applied enough pressure to make him play a few unforced errors.
"Obviously, he is a strong, dedicated player, good with a racquet, and his move to the UK prove that he is really serious about it, so I’m sure he’ll have some excellent results. And it’s nice to see another Malaysian on the tour apart from Bengy and Azlan."
Obviously Wan has shown the squash world that he is a true sportsman of the highest caliber, earning respect from players and journalist for his fair play and honesty. He is also earned some praise from Palmer, which is well deserved as Palmer is a former World Champion as well.
Wan is 22 and has been playing squash for more than 10 years. More importantly he has been training full time since he finished SPM and has been working really hard all this while. Hats off to the lad from Terengganu, he is a credit to all those aspiring to be squash players who are not the most gifted. He has proven that hard work and perseverance can help achieve your goals.
Dear Wan, Casper would be damm proud. I know I am. Cheers.