Top Ten

Early this month, Nicol David announced that she’ll retire from the pro tour later this spring. She’s been an incredible role model for two decades, exhibiting great sportsmanship and professionalism, always flashing her famous smile. She set the off-court standard.

On the court too. The March episode for the Outside The Glass podcast will be about David but here I wanted to mention something that appears in the current issue of Squash Magazine. For many, the best milestone for an athlete is to reach and stay continuously  ranked in the first ten in the world. I remember talking with  the venerable Bud Collins about it—to remain in the Top Ten (Bud always capitalized it) was the most accurate way to judge a player’s career.

Jimmy Connors holds the record for tennis—he stayed in the Top Ten for 788 consecutive weeks—181 months.

For golf, Tiger Woods was in the Top Ten longer than anyone else—860 consecutive weeks—198 months.

Nicol David notched 177 consecutive months in women squash’s Top Ten.

It is remarkable. Month in, month out. Just incredible. David is thirty-five months ahead of the next closest women (her coach Liz Irving and Michelle Martin at 142 months) and twenty-three months ahead of the nearest male, Greg Gaultier, whose streak of 154 months ended when the rankings came out on the first of this month. Only one active player is still pushing in the all-time list. That is Laura Massaro, currently at 129 months.