Name: Peter Nicol
Date of Birth: 05th April 1973
Residence: London, England
Racquet: Prince 03 Tour
Clubs/Teams: Paderborn, Rouen, Surrey Health & Racque
Biography: Peter Nicol has enjoyed an illustrious squash career, reaching 69 PSA Tour finals and earning 49 titles, including four US Opens three Hong Kong Opens, Al-Ahram Internationals, Super Series Finals and Tournament of Champions two British Opens, PSA Masters and one World Open trophy ?- boosted by gold medals in the Commonwealth Games singles in 1998 and 2006, and doubles in 2002 and 2006.
This, coupled with 60 months at the top of the world rankings ?- including a remarkable unbroken world top 10 run from May 1994 to the current date ?- make him not only the most successful British squash player of all-time, but one of the world's too!
In March 2001, he made headline news around the world when he announced that he was ?'defecting?' from his Scottish country of birth to become English!
Nicol?'s rise through the world squash rankings was little short of meteoric: He made his debut at 266 in January 1992. He raced to 52 by the following January, then rose to 14 twelve months later, moving into the top five by November of the same year, before hitting the No1 position in February 1998. In September 2004, he celebrated his 60th month as world No1, consolidating his status as the third most successful player of all-time, behind the great Khans Jahangir and Jansher.
Born in Inverurie, near Aberdeen in Scotland, the left-hander won his first PSA Tour title in 1992. By September 1994, he was competing in his first Super Series final - the Hong Kong Open, in which he lost to world No1 Jansher Khan.
It was in February 1998 that he became the first Briton ever to reach No1 in the PSA world rankings ?- thereby deposing his long-time rival Jansher Khan, who had held the position for an almost unbroken period of ten years.
As world No1, Nicol was top seed for the 1998 British Open for the first time. He cruised through to the final without dropping a game, then triumphantly beat Jansher in the final. Nicol achieved this historic success on his 25th birthday, trouncing Pakistan?'s six-times defending champion in straight games in front of a packed auditorium at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham to become the first Briton for 25 years to win the prestigious British Open title.
In the men's final of the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia in September 1998 - squash's triumphant debut in this prestigious multi-sport event - Nicol beat his long-time adversary Jonathon Power to take the first ever squash gold medal in a match screened live on TV in Britain and many countries around the world.
In September 1999, Nicol fulfilled his last remaining key goal in squash: It was his third successive appearance in the final, but on the famous open-air court erected on the desert sands by the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Nicol crushed local hero Ahmed Barada 15-9 15-13 15-11 to become World Open champion for the first time.
In the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England, in July, Peter was seeded to become the first athlete to retain his singles gold medal - for a different country. He reached the final without dropping a game, but fell Power in the final, in four games, in his fourth successive loss to the Canadian in the year.
Nicol went on to partner Lee Beachill to gold medal success in the Men?'s Doubles ?- becoming the only person to win gold medals both in 1998 and 2002, and one of only two (with England?'s Cassie Jackman) to win two medals in each Games.
In 2005, Peter Nicol rediscovered his appetite for squash and, after racing through a top-class field in the World Games in Germany, he won the IOC-backed championship (a non-PSA event) ?- beating France?'s world No1 Thierry Lincou in the final ?- to claim the 50th major international title of his career.
A month later, Nicol registered another minor milestone in his career when he won the English Open trophy ?- collecting, for the first time in three attempts, the winner?'s cheque in the event his own promotions company Events Sports Marketing launched at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield two years earlier. The seemingly rejuvenated 32-year-old beat England team-mate Nick Matthew in the final ?- to celebrate his triumph without dropping a game in his second successive event!
By half way through the year, Nicol had dropped out of the world top four for the first time for almost a decade ?- but he continued to confound the seedings in major events, reaching the semi-finals of the British Open in September in Manchester after beating favourite Lincou in the quarter-finals, then making it through to the same stage of the World Open in Hong Kong, again after upsetting the Frenchman at the last eight stage.
In one of the most courageous displays ever seen in the sport, Nicol swept to victory in the singles final in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March 2006, beating home favourite David Palmer in a dramatic 109-minute final. He then summoned further reserves to successfully defend his doubles gold medal with Lee Beachill, again beating Australians in the final!
Nicol?'s supreme achievements in squash were recognised in the most distinctive manner in June 1999 ?- when he was awarded an MBE (?'Member of the British Empire?') by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in the annual ?'Queen?'s Birthday Honours?'. He joins a distinguished group of squash players who have been similarly recognised in Britain ?- including Jonah Barrington, Lisa Opie, Martine le Moignan, Susan Devoy and Cassie Jackman.
In July this year, Nicol announced to the world his decision to end his competitive career after appearing in the English Open in Sheffield and World Open in Egypt. At the Crucible Theatre, the 33-year-old exceeded his seeded position after beating old rival David Palmer, the top seed, in the quarter-finals before bowing out to the ten-year-younger Frenchman Gregory Gaultier.
Egyptian crowds, and perhaps even the pyramids themselves, will undoubtedly give Nicol an appropriate send-off in September.