NSW has produced many national and world ranked players, including:
Heather McKay AM MBE:
Undefeated in her squash career over 20 years
Born: 31 July, 1941
Place of Birth: Queanbeyan, ACT
Highest world ranking: 1
Heather McKay is considered Australia’s greatest ever sportswoman. Heather’s dominance in women’s squash is a matter of historical record, winning 16 consecutive British Opens from 1962 to 1977 - an absolutely incredible feat - and 14 straight Australian Amateur Championships from 1960 to 1973. Neither of these successes have been equalled or surpassed.
In another amazing statistic, Heather lost only two matches in her entire career – in 1960 and 1962 - and was unbeaten in competitive squash matches from 1962 to 1981 when she retired from active open squash.
In 1976 Heather won the first but unofficial World Women’s Open held in Australia and went on to win the first official Open in 1979 in England.
Heather continued on in competitive squash at international Masters level winning four World Championships in 1987 (45), 1990 (45), 1993 (50) and 1995 (50). The Australian public has acknowledged Heather’s significant contribution to Australian sport with Heather being inducted into the Australian Hall of Fame as a “Legend”. She is also a member of the World Squash Federation Hall of Fame. Heather’s dedication and performance in sport has been recognised by the Australian Government by her being awarded the decorations of the Member of the British Empire (MBE) and the Australian Medal (AM).
1960 - 1973 Winner of the Australian Amateur Championships
1961 - 1973 Winner of New South Wales Championships
1961 - 1973 Winner of Victorian Championships
1962 - 1977 Winner of the British Open Championships
1965 Married Brian H McKay
1967 Awarded ABC Sportsman of the Year
1 January 1969 Appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire
1976 Winner of the World Squash Championship
1977 Winner of the American Championship
1979 Winner of the American Amateur Racquetball Championship
1979 Winner of the World Squash Championship
26 January 1979 Awarded Member of the Order of Australia
1980 Winner of the Canadian Racquetball Championship
1980 - 1981 Winner of the American Professional Racquetball Championships
1982 - 1985 Winner of the Canadian Racquetball Championships
1984 Winner of the American Professional Racquetball Championship
1985 - 1998 Squash Coach with the Australian Institute of Sport
30 August 2000 Awarded the Australian Sports Medal
12 March 2005 Inducted into the Squash Australia Hall of Fame
David Palmer OAM :
Born: 28th June 1976 - Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia
4 times British Open Champion
2 times world open
World Open Champion 2002
British Open Champion 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008
World No. 1 September 2001 – January 2002
Captain of Australia to World Teams Title 2001, 2003
Double Bronze Medalist – Commonwealth Games 2002
Winner of 16 PSA Tour Titles
President of PSA(2001 to 2002)
Michelle Martin : Multiple World Women’s Champion
Born: 29 April 1967
Place of Birth: Sydney
Highest world ranking: 1 (1993-95 and 99)
***** MARCH 2011 Michelle was inducted in to "Legend" Status in The Squash Australia Hall of Fame. ******
Michelle Martin has been one of Australia’s most prolific athletes on the international squash scene. She won three consecutive world titles in 1993, 94, and 95, and clinched six straight British Opens titles – in 1993, 94, 95, 96, 97 and 98. She also held the world No.1 ranking from 1993-95 and again in 1999.
This domination overflowed into her Australian representational duties, competing at six World Women’s Team’s Championships in 1987, 90, 92, 94, 96 and 98.
Martin also competed for Australia at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games winning two gold medals in the women’s singles and the mixed doubles. She also represented Australia in the 1996 and 1999 World Cups. In addition to her outstanding international prowess she won seven Australian Open Championships – in 1991, 93, 94, 95, 96, 98 and 99.
Her outstanding squash attributes have been acknowledge by both the Australian public and the World Squash Federation after being inducted into both respective Sports Halls of Fame. In March 2005 she was inducted into the inaugural Australian Squash Hall of Fame.
Martin has continued her commitment to Australian squash in the coaching field, and was manager/coach of the victorious Australian team at the 2004 World Women’s Teams Championship in Amsterdam.
Anthony Ricketts: British Open Champion
Date of Birth: March 12 1979
Former British Open winner Anthony Ricketts has been inducted into the Squash Australia Hall of Fame, joining a host of former champions who have previously been honoured by the sport’s national governing body.
Ricketts combined with fellow New South Welshman David Palmer and Canberra’s Stewart Boswell to keep the Australian squash flag flying high during the 2000s.
He was part of the Australian team that won the 2003 World Men’s Teams Championship and also won silver medals alongside Boswell in the men’s doubles at the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The 31-year-old Ricketts was once ranked as high as three in the world and was the top Australian at the time, but he had his career marred by a succession of knee injuries, one of which eventually forced him into a premature retirement.
He was born in Sydney in March 1979 and began playing at the Thornleigh courts when he was nine years old.
He was national champion at Under 17 level in 1996 before announcing his arrival on the Australian squash scene when he was crowned national junior men’s champion in 1999, following on immediately from Palmer and Boswell.
He won the first of his eight main Professional Squash Association titles the same year when he beat Billy Haddrell in straight games to win the YTL Open in Kuala Lumpur, but his first major success came in 2000 when he beat Paul Price to win the first of his two Australian Opens.
He won twice more in 2001, including the Malaysian Open, as he took his world ranking to 19, before cracking the top 10 in 2002, reaching number seven in the world.
Ricketts consolidated his world ranking until injuring his knee in January 2004, which forced him off the tour for seven months.
He returned late in 2004 and achieved his breakthrough year in 2005 when he won two of the world’s most prestigious tournaments – the Tournament of Champions in New York and the British Open, along with his second Australian Open.
Seeded 10th at the Tournament of Champions, Ricketts beat third seed Peter Nicol, Amr Shabana and world No 1 Thierry Lincou on his way to the title.
Eight months later at the British Open, the sixth-seeded Ricketts beat Peter Nicol in the semi-finals then James Willstrop in the final for the biggest win of his career.
“The British Open was the highlight of my career, due largely to the number of great Australians players that had gone before me,” he said.
“There is so much history involved with it, and much of that history has been created by Australians.”
Ricketts kept the momentum going in 2006, reaching the final of the Canary Wharf Classic before winning the 2006 Super Series, the last major triumph before a recurrence of his knee injury forced him to call time on his career in 2007.
“I knew it was time – I had had five arthroscopies on my right knee and I had been playing in pain for a long time before I called it quits.”
Ricketts is not lost to the sport. He is currently high performance coach for Squash New Zealand and is engaged to former New Zealand number one and 2007 Australian Open champion Shelley Kitchen.
2005 British Open
2000, 2005 Australian Open
2005 Tournament of Champions
2006 Super Series Champion
2000 Malaysian Open
2003 Men’s World Teams Champion
2002, 2006 Commonwealth Games Silver Medalist (Men’s Doubles)
1999 Australian Junior Champion
Born: 21 January 1938
Place of Birth: Sydney
Highest world ranking: 1
Ken Hiscoe is one of the stalwarts of Australian squash. His performances and efforts through the sixties and seventies assisted in forming the sound foundation for Australian squash that we have today and the athletes that followed.
He won seven Australian Championships in 1960, 61, 62, 63, 64, 66 and 67.
During the same period Hiscoe was off around the world collecting the South African Championship and the Scottish Championship in 1963.
He captained the Australian men’s team from 1964 to 1971, which was unbeaten, and played in the World Team Championships in 1967, 1969 and 1971. From 1971 to 1978 Hiscoe won 20 individual titles worldwide.
Once leaving the senior elite ranks he continued in the Masters where he won the British Open Masters Championships from 1980 to 1993, and was the World Masters Champion for the 45year age group in 1983.
Hiscoe never played in a losing NSW or Australian team from 1960 to 1978 - a great feat in its own right.
Hiscoe also mentored a 16-year-old Geoff Hunt on his first tour to England.
His squash ability and his services to the sport have been acknowledged by his induction into the Squash Australia Hall of Fame in 2005.
Born: May 25, 1948
Resides: Blue Mountains, NSW
Barbara Wall created sporting history in 1973 and became a trailblazer for countless others when she became the first Australian female squash player to turn professional.
Born in Perth in 1948, Barbara learned to play the game in the squash centre that her parents George and Enid built.
“Dad built one of the first centres in Western Australia where people could walk in off the street, pay their money and have a game,” she said. “Squash was booming back then. In those days you couldn’t get on a court on Saturdays and Sundays. “We had to wait for someone to be late, and then we’d race down and have a hit.”
Barbara played both tennis and squash as a youngster, but opted to concentrate on squash because at that time it offered far more opportunities to travel interstate and play national tournaments, a big attraction for a teenager living in Perth in the 1960s.
“It was very exciting in those days to get on a plane and travel east,” she said with a laugh.
She never really thought seriously of playing squash for a living and had even semi-retired from the sport in her mid-20s when she was restricted from playing in Australia because of her professional status.
During that period she ran a coaching school in Perth and managed her father’s squash centre, but when she travelled to Sydney in 1976 to watch the Australian championships, the British team members told her that professionals could play in British tournaments and she decided then and there that that was her future.
“They opened it up which allowed Heather (McKay) to keep competing because she was turning professional, and I decided that it was a great way to see the world,” she said. “I’d never been overseas so I came home and I decided I would sell everything and go to England and play in the tournaments.”
In 1977 she made the final of the British Open, the first unseeded player to do so, only to come up against the formidable Heather McKay in Heather’s last British Open.
“I hadn’t competed for four years and I wasn’t one of the top players, but I think I got over there and for the first time in my life I had three months just hitting squash balls – and I got better and better,” she said.
“Nobody knew who I was and even in Perth people were saying ‘Who’s Barbara Wall?’
“I thought nothing better would ever happen to me in my life -- to get to the final of the British Open and play Heather McKay.”
However, two years’ later better things would happen.
The following year she had a minor setback when she went out to 2007 Hall of Fame inductee Rhonda Clayton (Thorne) in the quarter-finals, and South African professional Alan Colburn told her that he thought she would go back to Australia with her talent unfulfilled.
“He was a wonderful pro and he did some work with me, but he said I would never know how good I could have been -- I would never realise my true potential,” Barbara said.
With those words ringing in her ears, Barbara returned to Australia and contacted Australian track and field legend Shirley De La Hunty (Strickland), who spent almost 12 months helping her with her fitness training and her speed work.
She went back to England and went on to win the title in 1979, downing England’s Sue Cogswell 8-10, 6-9, 9-4, 9-4, 9-3 in the final
“It was the most wonderful thrill to win it – you dream of it, but you never dream it will happen really,” she said.
Barbara still regards that win as the highlight of a glittering career, which also includes winning the Irish Open, the Belgian and Danish Opens and the South African Champion of Champions.
She was also chosen in the Australian team for the first ever Women’s World Team Championship in 1979 alongside Rhonda Clayton, Vicki Cardwell, Sue King and Anne Smith, where they finished second to a combined Great Britain team.
She said being inducted into the Hall of Fame, after nearly 20 years away from the sport, was a huge honour for her.
“It’s not just about winning the British Open – it’s about my whole life in squash, and for 35 years it was my life.”
1979 British Open
1978 Irish Open
1979 South African Champion of Champions
1979 NSW Open
Four time WA champion – 1969, 1970, 1971, 1979
Sue King OAM:
Date of Birth: April 24, 1950
Resides: Sydney (Kogarah)
Sue Newman-King has enjoyed one of the most distinguished careers in Australian squash history – as a player, a coach and as an administrator.
Sue’s first contact with squash came when her father built the Moorefield Squash Centre in Kogarah in Sydney’s south in 1957, and her involvement continues to this day.
But unlike many other children who were brought up in family-owned squash centres, Sue initially resisted the urge to play, instead earning pocket money by sweeping the courts at the end of the day’s play. “The crazy thing is I didn’t start playing until I was 13,” she said.
She only picked up a racket when a patron, who had celebrated a little too freely at the Christmas drinks, challenged her to a contest to see who could bounce the most times on Sue’s pogo stick. “I did about 200 and he fell off after three, so he said ‘come on, I’ll challenge you to a game of squash’, and that was it.” From that hit, a future British Open champion was born.
Sue played her first pennant match in 1963 and remarkably has missed only six pennant competitions since then.
She won her first major titles in 1968 when she was crowned both NSW and Australian junior champion and then went on to become Australian Amateur Champion in 1975 and 1976, the first woman to win both the national junior and senior amateur titles.
She toured Britain and Ireland in the early 1970s, winning a swag of national titles along the way and reached the final of the British Open in 1976, where she came up against Heather McKay, a player who she had met many times before in New South Wales competitions.
When Heather retired Sue seized her chance and claimed the 1978 British Open with a win over Vicki Cardwell 9-4, 9-7, 9-2.
Sue captained Australia at the first Women’s World Teams Championships in 1979 in a team featuring fellow Hall of Fame inductee Barbara Wall, Rhonda Thorne, Vicki Cardwell and Anne Smith, and played at the top level for another two years before turning her hand to coaching and administration.
She has had a long involvement with US squash and has hosted many tours from the US as well as organising teams of young Australians to travel to North America.
Sue has been heavily involved in coaching juniors for the past 10 years and was current AIS player Scott Arnold’s coach before he moved to Brisbane, She currently coaches Andrew Lloyd, the number three ranked boy in the 15 years age division in New South Wales. Sue was awarded the Order of Australia in 1999 for services to squash and the Australian Sports Medal in 2000.
1978 British Open
1975 Australian Amateur Champion
1976 Australian Amateur Champion
1976 Irish Open
1976 Scottish Open
1973 Welsh Open
1980 South of England Open
Four time NSW Open champion 1975, 1976, 1978, 1980
Two time NSW Amateur champion 1974, 1975
Born 9 April 1945
Place of Birth: Sydney
Highest world ranking: 2
World title 1973
Cam Nancarrow came to the sport that made him world champion almost by accident.
When in 1961 a squash centre was built near where he was living in the southern Sydney suburb of Rockdale , Cam’s father won a raffle held to celebrate the courts’ opening, taking home a racket, some balls and a pair of shoes.
But after playing the game a few times, Cam’s father decided it was too much like hard work and so gave the gear to his son, then a golf loving 16-year-old.
Cam gave it a shot and soon discovered he had a flair for the game, quickly developing into a top class junior, winning his first event when he took out the Combined High School championship in Sydney.
Success followed as Cam won a number of junior tournaments and made his way up the extremely powerful New South Wales ranks.
Cam won the Australian Amateur Championship in 1972 and followed that win with the British Amateur and New Zealand Open titles that same year.
He reached the peak the following year when he won the World Amateur title in South Africa, beating England’s Bryan Patterson in the final in straight games 9-2, 9-5, 9-3.
The 1973 championship was Cam’s third appearance in a World Championship final – he had gone down to fellow Hall of Famer Geoff Hunt 1967 and 1971. Geoff also denied Cam the 1969 and 1977 British Open titles.
Cam turned professional after winning the 1973 title and toured extensively until he retired.
He won tournaments in winning tournaments in Scotland, New Guinea and South Africa, as well as Australia.
He said winning the Canadian Open in 1973 was one of his career highlights, as the North Americans played under different rules and using different balls and the Australians weren’t expected to get past the first round.
Cam also won four World Team Championships in a golden era for Australian squash. “We had the strongest 2, 3 and 4 players in world squash,” he said. “So if someone, like Jonah Barrington, beat Geoff at number 1, they still couldn’t beat us because our 2, 3, and 4 were so strong. “In that period, our 2s, 3s, and 4s never lost a match.”
Cam, stepfather of former top Australian player Tristan, moved to Queensland in 1982, where he established a furniture restoration business.
He doesn’t play squash any more – in fact he’s gone full circle and if he’s not at home, odds are that you’ll find him on a golf course.”
1973 World Amateur Champion beat Bryan Patterson of England 9-2, 9-5, 9-3 in South Africa
1973 World Teams Champion
1971 World Teams Champion
1969 World Teams Champion
1967 World Teams Champion
1972 Australian Amateur Champion