Joelle King sets sights on top of world game

17:00, Jul 29 2014
UP AND UP: Kiwi squash player Joelle King, pictured on her way to victory in the bronze medal match in Glasgow, wants to keep climbing towards the top of the world rankings.
UP AND UP: Kiwi squash player Joelle King, pictured on her way to victory in the bronze medal match in Glasgow, wants to keep climbing towards the top of the world rankings.

The King still has a great chance to usurp the Queen.

Joelle King's bronze medal win in Glasgow was another indication the Kiwi is closing on the world's elite - including women's squash royalty Nicol David.

The Cambridge 25-year-old has already climbed to be ranked No 4 in the world this year and her dominant 11-7 11-7 11-5 win over England's Alison Waters gave her a third Commonwealth Games medal after collecting two doubles gongs in Delhi 2010.

''Obviously it would have been great to have a gold, but I'm just happy to have a medal,'' King said following her win.

''All week I've actually played some pretty good squash.''

Once she's completed her hectic Games schedule with participation in the women's and mixed doubles, King will aim to continue her advance towards the top spot that has been held for most of the past decade by Malaysian 30-year-old David.


She retained her Games gold with a 12-10 11-2 11-5 triumph over world No 2 Laura Massaro after beating the Kiwi in a three-set semifinal King described as ''horrible''.

''Straight away I was really disappointed,'' King said of her sub-par display in the pursuit of gold.

''But reflecting later on, Nicol played a pretty solid match and didn't give me much to work with. It was really a case of 'that's done, it's time to move on' and prepare for this game today.''

She was too good at both ends of the court for Waters, and New Zealand coach Paul Hornsby said King should still be encouraged by her efforts.

''Nicol is a phenomenal squash player and we've got to remember that,'' Hornsby said.

''Everybody, and nobody more so than Joelle, wants to see Joelle rise up and rise above her and she's working very hard at it. Yesterday was an opportunity to beat Nicol for the first time - she'd played fantastically well all week in all departments.

''She's moved very well, her racket work's been very good, she's had a low error rate - but Nicol's just so consistent. And you have to remember Nicol's not seven-times world champion by accident - and she's still in her prime.

''She's not deteriorated at all.''

Hornsby said he's witnessed improvement from King even during the Games in Glasgow that she's been working every day on.

''I think consistency of accuracy [is one] - finding the back of the court more consistently. I think that's one of the things that's really looked good so far this week.

''We're looking at building the confidence of her short game, taking the ball into the front more clinical, and in the last 16 and quarterfinal matches she did that really well without hitting errors, and that's obviously a key to it.''

King dominated the front and back of the court against a frustrated Waters, who was rarely given the opportunity to apply any pressure.

King's quickness and fitness allowed her to recover many of Waters' best shots, while the Englishwoman was often scrambling against King's mixture of power and finesse.

She's also been working on her mental game during matches, in conjunction with Hamilton-based sports psychologist David Galbraith.

''We're seeing improvements in these areas all the time, but it's fine margins when you get to the stage she's at - to go from four to three, three to two, two to one,'' Hornsby acknowledged.

''She's got to believe in herself - I believe in her, everybody does and the future is very bright for her.

''She's got a lot left in her career to make these gains.'' King will be back in action tonight (NZ time) as she still has women's and mixed doubles duties, with her and Martin Knight among the favourites in the mixed event.

''No days off - no rest for the wicked,'' she grinned.