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- North Walsham, England
|James Willstrop Profile|
|Date of Birth||15th August, 1983|
|Coach||Malcolm Willstrop, David Campion|
|Interests||Drama, Baking, Quantum Physics|
|Other Sponsors||CSPC Physio, AJ Bell, Spiers, Play Squash Academy|
James Willstrop is one of England’s greatest squash players and has maintained one of the sport’s most bitter rivalries with three-time World Champion Nick Matthew.
Known as ‘The Marksman’ after his accurate shot placement, he has a large, rangy build and stands at an impressive 6 feet 4 inches.
He lifted the Qatar Classic in 2005 after losing out in the final of the British Open and picked up a silver medal alongside Vicky Botwright in the 2006 Commonwealth games.
2008 saw more heartbreak at the British Open after a 3-2 defeat to David Palmer despite Willstrop holding match ball on two occasions. He reached the final again a year later but lost out in a tense five-set match with Matthew.
Willstrop started 2010 with an impressive win at the Tournament of Champions, dropping just one game throughout the whole tournament. He lost out to Matthew though in arguably the biggest match of his career, the World Championship final, later that year.
The Englishman had a stunning 2011 and earned a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games after defeat to Matthew again. Willstrop followed this up by winning fifteen matches in a row to clinch the Hong Kong Open, the Kuwait Open and the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters. This led to him reaching a career high World No.1 ranking in January 2012 but he surrendered it to compatriot Matthew after defeat in the Tournament of Champions the same year.
The Norfolk-born Willstrop wrote the book Shot and a Ghost in 2012 which released to positive reviews.
Injury dogged the next two years but Willstrop still managed to pick up a solitary PSA World Tour title in March 2013 at the Canary Wharf Classic. The Englishman celebrated the birth of his son, Logan, in November 2013 with partner Vanessa Atkinson, a former Women’s World Champion.
Willstrop showed signs he was getting back to his best when he picked up his third silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, his old foe Matthew proving victorious once more. He finished 2014 on a high though, winning the China Open for the first time in September.
More injury problems went on to disrupt Willstrop's season and, despite claiming a handful of quarter-final finishes, his World Ranking took a hit as he dropped out of the top ten at the end of the 2014/15 season.
He returned to some his best form though at the 2015 World Championship in November by dumping out then World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy in the third round in a performance reminiscent of his sensational best.
Willstrop eventually bowed out at the semi-final stage to eventual World Champion Gregory Gaultier but his fine display ensured that he moved back into the world’s top 15.
After a slow start to 2016, Willstrop put in a series of superb displays towards the end of the year, reaching the final of the NetSuite Open in September before claiming a first World Series semi-final spot since 2014 at the U.S. Open the following month.
Willstrop renewed his great rivalry with Matthew in the final of December’s British Grand Prix, but fell to a 19th successive defeat to his fellow Yorkshireman.
The Yorkshireman featured in the semi-final of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions but lost out to eventual winner Karim Abdel Gawad in January 2017.
Willstrop then went on to reach the final of the season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals where he was eventually defeated by Egypt's Mohamed ElShorbagy.
In 2018 Willstrop claimed the biggest title of his squash career, defeating Paul Coll 3-0 to win Gold at the Commonwealth Games. After his outstanding performance on Australia's Gold Coast, Willstrop became the most capped England squash player in history. The former World No.1 also made the final of the Open International de Squash de Nantes, before going on to win the London Open in his final outing of 2018.
His first appearance of 2019 saw Willstrop make it to the semi finals of the CCI International, before reaching the same mark at the Wimbledon Club Squash Squared Open. He finished the season with a runners-up finish at the 5R Montpellier Metropole Open, losing out to Frenchman Gregoire Marche in the final.
Willstrop started his 2019-2020 campaign in great form, as he reached the last eight of the Open de France - Nantes presented by Tailor Capital, before reaching the same stage of the PSA Men’s World Championship in Qatar. He then won the London Open before helping England to a runners-up finish at the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championships in Washington, D.C.
The Englishman reached the last 16 of every event he entered in 2020, starting with the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions and St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic. He then did the same at the four major tournaments that followed the six-month suspension of the Tour.
Sumner Malik Memorial 2021 15 - 17 Jun PSA Challenger Tour 10 Event
El Gouna International Squash Open 2021 20 - 28 May PSA World Tour Platinum Event
CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open 2021 19 - 25 Mar PSA World Tour Platinum Event
AJ Bell England Squash Championships 2021 09 - 12 Feb Domestic Event
CIB Black Ball Squash Open 2020 13 - 18 Dec PSA World Tour Gold Event
Qatar Classic 2020 01 - 07 Nov PSA World Tour Platinum Event
CIB Egyptian Open 2020 10 - 17 Oct PSA World Tour Platinum Event
Manchester Open 2020 16 - 22 Sep PSA World Tour Silver Event
Cannon Kirk Irish Squash Open 2020 21 - 25 Apr PSA Challenger Tour 20 Event
Grasshopper Cup 2020 17 - 22 Mar PSA World Tour Gold Event