James Willstrop

James Willstrop (born 15 August 1983) is an English professional squash player from Yorkshire, England. He was born in North Walsham, Norfolk, United Kingdom. He reached No. 1 world ranking in January 2012.[1]

James Willstrop
James Willstrop 2017.jpg
Nickname(s)The Marksman
Country England
 United Kingdom
ResidenceHarrogate, North Yorkshire, England
Born (1983-08-15) 15 August 1983 (age 37)
North Walsham, Norfolk
Height1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight88 kg (194 lb)
Turned Pro2002
PlaysRight Handed
Coached byMalcolm Willstrop
Racquet usedUnsquashable
Men's singles
Highest rankingNo. 1 (January 2012)
Current rankingNo. 20 (July, 2020)
Tour final(s)46
World OpenF (2010)
Last updated on: July 2020.
James Willstrop reacts during the 2009 Kuwait Open semi-finals.


Willstrop has a large build for a squash player, being 6 feet 3 inches (191 cm) and 194 pounds (88 kg). He trains at Pontefract Squash Club in West Yorkshire, where he is trained by his father, Malcolm Willstrop.

Willstrop crowned a sensational junior squash career in 2002 when he claimed his third consecutive British Junior Under-19 National Championship title, to establish himself as England's most successful junior player of all time – having won National titles at all age groups (under-12, under-14, under-17 and under-19), and British Junior Open trophies at under-14, under-17 and under-19. In the same year, he established himself as the world's top junior player, claiming both the European and the World junior titles.

Willstrop went on to be one of the youngest players ever to play for the senior England team, representing his country for the first time at both the European and World Team Squash Championships in 2003.

In 2004, he won the Pakistan Open title in Islamabad (upsetting Amr Shabana in the quarter-finals) in his first appearance in a PSA Super Series final. In 2005, he finished runner-up at the British Open as the seventh seed, then followed this by lifting the Qatar Classic trophy in only his second Super Series final appearance. This first-time success led to Willstrop leaping six places to a career-high World No. 2 in the PSA world rankings published that December. The new ranking catapulted Willstrop to the position of top-ranked Englishman – which led to his promotion to squad number one in the England team for the 2005 World Team Championships in Pakistan later in the month, when he led the team to victory for the first time in eight years.

In the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Willstrop partnered Vicky Botwright to a Silver Medal in the Mixed Doubles. Willstrop also won the 2007 British National Squash Championships title, beating John White in the final. In December 2007, Willstrop helped England retain the World Team Championship title in Chennai, India, and won the English Open, beating fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew in the final.

Willstrop retained his British National title in February 2008, beating fellow Pontefract player Lee Beachill in the final. He also finished runner-up at the British Open for the second time in May 2008, losing in a five-set final to David Palmer. Willstrop held match balls at 10–9 and 11–10 in the fifth game, but Palmer ultimately won 11–9, 11–9, 8–11, 6–11, 11–10 (3–2).

In January 2010, Willstrop won his first Tournament of Champions title in New York, defeating World Number 1 Ramy Ashour in the final and dropping only one game during the whole tournament.

In the singles final of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Willstrop was defeated by compatriot Nick Matthew 11–6, 11–7, 11–7. The match ended after 66 minutes.[2]

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 Punj Lloyd PSA Masters. With those 3 PSA World Series titles, Willstrop put himself 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 No. 1 in January 2012. Matthew regained his World No. 1 spot by defeating Willstrop in the Tournament of Champions 2012 on 26 January 2012.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Willstrop won the Gold Medal in the Men's Singles, beating Paul Coll of New Zealand in straight games, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6.[3]

In 2020, Willstrop won the British National title, beating Joel Makin in the final.

Personal lifeEdit

Willstrop is a vegan.[4]

World Open final appearancesEdit

0 title and 1 runner-upEdit

Outcome Year Location Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 2010 Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia   Nick Matthew 7–11, 11–6, 11–2, 11–3

Major World Series final appearancesEdit

British Open: 3 finals (0 title, 3 runner-up)Edit

Outcome Year Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 2005   Anthony Ricketts 11–7, 11–9, 11–7
Runner-up 2008   David Palmer 11–9, 11–9, 8–11, 6–11, 13–11
Runner-up 2009   Nick Matthew 8–11, 11–8, 7–11, 11–3, 12–10

Tournament of Champions: 3 finals (1 title, 2 runner-up)Edit

Outcome Year Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 2008   Ramy Ashour 11–7, 14–12, 11–9
Winner 2010   Ramy Ashour 12–10, 11–5, 9–11, 11-3
Runner-up 2012   Nick Matthew 8–11, 11–9, 11–5, 11–7

Qatar Classic: 2 finals (1 title, 1 runner-up)Edit

Outcome Year Opponent in the final Score in the final
Winner 2005   David Palmer 11–1, 11–7, 11–7
Runner-up 2011   Grégory Gaultier 11–8, 11–7, 2–11, 11–8

US Open: 1 final (0 title, 1 runner-up)Edit

Outcome Year Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 2009   Nick Matthew 11–7, 11–4, 11–7

Pakistan International: 1 final (1 title, 0 runner-up)Edit

Outcome Year Opponent in the final Score in the final
Winner 2004   Anthony Ricketts 6–11, 11–9, 13–11, 11–3

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "James Willstrop - Professional Squash Association". psaworldtour.com. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Day Five – the Finals". Squashsite. 8 October 2010. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  3. ^ "GC2018 - Squash". GC2018. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  4. ^ "‘I try not to get hung up on food and sometimes you have to accept what’s available’". Squash Mad. Retrieved September 25, 2020.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Nick Matthew
Nick Matthew
World No. 1
January 2012
March 2012 – December 2012
Succeeded by
Nick Matthew
Ramy Ashour
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
PSA Young Player of the Year
Succeeded by
Ramy Ashour
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Amr Shabana
PSA Player of the Year
Succeeded by
Karim Darwish