06 November 2011


David Palmer is retiring, he announced to have played his last PSA match when he lost to Karim Darwish in the quarter finals of the 2011 World Open in Rotterdam. In this blog, we have mentioned and analysed several times the amazing professional qualities of the 'Marine'. His main weapon was always his physical and mental strength; just by appearing on the court he made opponents doubt, and at crucial stages of a match his concentration and self-belief might have achieved at times 'Übermensch' levels. Technically too, he was very complete, very solid, steady basic game coupled with a beautiful backhand volleydrop (enabled by great anticipation qualities). Palmer made himself also a reputation for his spectacular dives. With age he also made his squash evolve into a very intelligent lower-pace high-percentage game with looking to fade the ball into the sidewall instead of going for the just-over-the-tin shots (even though there were of course exceptions, like his hilarious and famous drop shot against Ramy Ashour at 2011 TOC in New York). However, there is also the other face of the coin; Palmer, in many regards, is also a representant of a type of squash that is less to our likings; the squash of the eighties, nineties, the squash of subtle and less subtle blocking, the squash of asking for 'Let' at the slightest interference (nevertheless caused by yourself due to a loose previous shot or going initially the wrong way). If PSA were capable of recording bit more elaborated statistics, I am pretty sure that Palmer's name would lead the list of most 'Lets' played in avarage. And that's no good for the general image of the game and also a bit of a shame in an era where the likes of Peter Nicol, John White, Shabana, Willstrop or Ramy (just to mention the main ones) have proved that it is possible to get to the top by playing free-flowing squash. Of course, the below rally is an extreme example, as Jonathon Power and David Palmer had a specificly tough story of their own within the history of squash, but it is still demonstrating the strange kind of rugby player qualities of this great squash player. Let's finish this post by emphasising that the positives of Palmer's game weight still heavier than the negatives, and he will definitely leave an unfilled hole in the pro circuit of squash.