England’s Laura Massaro has become women’s world number one for the first time in her career after topping the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Rankings for January.
The 32-year-old leapfrogged Egyptian Raneem El Welily to claim the coveted position following a successful December in which she clinched three PSA World Tour titles in Macau, Qatar and the United States.
She was assured of the number one spot following victory over El Welily in the semi-final of the recent Hong Kong Open, though she went on to suffer defeat to Malaysia’s Nicol David in the final.
Massaro is just the third Englishwoman to achieve the feat, following in the footsteps of Cassie Jackman in 2004 and Lisa Opie in 1988.
Elsewhere in the women’s rankings, Amanda Sobhy of the United States has moved up to a career high of world number eight and New Zealand’s Joelle King has continued her recovery from injury by rising three places to 12th.
“I’ve been close for a very long time and to now be world number one is very, very special,” Massaro said.
“There’s no trophy lift or one moment of winning like at a tournament but there’s a huge sense of satisfaction that another box has been ticked.
“It has taken a lot of years to get to the point where I can be at the top and just like the World Championship and British Open titles I won, I know this is something that I’m always going to be able to look back on.
“I think the Women’s Tour is at one of its strongest points ever so women’s squash is in a very exciting period but I now have that ranking to defend and that gives me even more motivation to keep improving.”
In the men’s rankings, Egypt’s Mohamed Elshorbagy has wrestled back the number one spot from recently-crowned world champion Gregory Gaultier of France following a dominant success at the Hong Kong Open, where he dropped one game on his way to the title.
Gaultier had ended Elshorbagy’s 13-month reign at the summit in December but drops back down to second, with England’s Nick Matthew currently in third place.
“Winning in Hong Kong in 2014 was what first took me to world number one so I was very determined to go back there this year and regain my place at the top of the World Rankings and I’m delighted I was able to do that,” the Egyptian said.
“For a long time last year I hadn’t been enjoying my squash but in Hong Kong I enjoyed playing again and realised how much I value the world number one position and I’m looking forward to defending it once again this year.”