World No.29 Greg Lobban has shared his thoughts on the eyewear debate which has caused widespread discussion in the world of squash, saying that he believes that eyewear should not be mandatory for professional players.
The debate came about after England's World No.25 Daryl Selby pledged earlier this week to wear eyewear in all PSA tournaments from now on after suffering an eye injury during the recent British Nationals.
Selby got a glancing blow off his eye socket when his first round opponent Oliver Pett caught him with the ball after a stray shot off the frame of his racket, although he did escape without any damage to the retina.
Selby's comments have resulted in a debate on the importance of eyewear at all levels of the sport . While Scotland's Lobban concedes that there is merit in junior and amateur players being made to wear eyewear, he says the risk of eye injuries are, in general, considerably lower in the professional ranks.
“I've been following the debate closely on Squash Mad regarding eyewear in squash and whether it should be mandatory,” said Lobban on Twitter.
“In short, should juniors and amateurs be made to wear eyewear? Yes. Should PSA [Professional Squash Association] make it mandatory for players to wear eyewear? Absolutely not.
“Some of the stories that have been published since the incident at the British Nationals with Daryl have been tragic and really scary but in truth not that surprising. 99 per cent of these stories have come from amateur players, which as Daryl explains on his Instagram video, how many balls fly narrowly past people's heads at amateur level? It's common that they don't know where they're hitting the ball, let alone what their opponent is going to do.
“I don't believe it should be made mandatory for professional players because we are professionals for a reason, and we spend hundreds of hours practicing a craft that reduces this accident happening monumentally.
“It's extremely rare for a ball to come even close to an opponent's head, let alone the eye. Of course, it came very close to Daryl the other day, and thank goodness nothing serious happened.
“I'm not saying there is no risk there, but we take risks everyday in general life by crossing the road, driving your car and you simply have to draw the line somewhere.
“In tennis, Denis Shapovalov last year in the David Cup smacked a ball in frustration and hit the umpire in the eye, and he had to undergo surgery to regain his sight back. Should tennis umpires be made to wear eyewear to protect themselves?
“I had an unfortunate incident in an exhibition match last year playing Declan James where I missed the back wall in an attempted back wall boast and hit a spectator between the eyes. Fortunately, she was okay and no damage was done, but should spectators in the crowd be made to watch wearing eyewear?
“My answer to both of these questions are: of course not. The point I'm trying to make is that these are absolutely freak accidents and you simply cannot account for these.
“There is still a risk that these incidents may happen, but they're considerably lower in the professional game.
“I want to state that all these comments are based on singles on the PSA World Tour. The World Squash Federation (WSF) make it mandatory for doubles and rightly so, as the risk is increased even as professionals.”
My two cents on eyewear: pic.twitter.com/vm5LMKnmAR— Greg Lobban (@LobSquash) February 20, 2020