James Willstrop burst onto the squash scene when in 2002 he crowned a sensational junior career with his third consecutive British Junior, European Junior and World Junior titles.
In the very next year, he would become one of the youngest players in history to represent the senior England team at the European and World Team championships. The 6 foot 4 inch Yorkshireman, trained by his father at the famous Pontefract Squash Club, became the world’s top-ranked Englishman just two years after becoming a ‘senior’. In December 2005, after reaching a career-high world No2, he led England to victory for the first time in eight years at the World Team Championships in Pakistan.
After a glorious 2008, with successes in the Swedish Open, Virginia Pro Championship and Canary Wharf Classic, his career suffered a major setback in April 2009 when he was forced to undergo ankle surgery. Thankfully James proved his remarkable strength of character to bounce back and, in September, battled through to the British Open final for the second year in a row.
Willstrop ended his 2011 season by winning 15 matches in a row en route to winning the Hong Kong Open, the Kuwait Open, and The Puni Lloyd PSA Masters, which put him into First Place in the PSA World Series rankings as well as ensuring his place at the top of the world rankings list. Willstrop succeeded fellow Englishman Nick Matthew as the World #1 in January 2012.
Image copyright: Jordan Mansfield/PSA
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