Wellington: Six-time winners England enter the women’s world squash championships in New Zealand as top seeds, although Australia’s Sarah Fitz-Gerald plans an upset as she returns from eight years’ retirement.
The event, being staged at Palmerston North, north of Wellington, begins on Monday.
Fitz-Gerald, who has won five world titles, will line up for the second-seeded Australians in her first competitive squash event eight years after she retired from the women’s world circuit in 2002.
The 41-year-old said she was motivated by a recent slump in Australia’s form, which saw the team finish sixth in 2008 and 10th in 2006.
“When I was coming through we were always in the top three, probably the top two so that’s part of the reason I put my hand up,” she said.
“Just to see if I could help move us up.”
Fitz-Gerald admitted returnng to elite squash would be a challenge but said she was still in good shape.
“I haven’t ever really stopped playing since I came off tour,” she said.
“I’ve been doing league, promotions and exhibitions, so my fitness is still pretty good and I’m playing all right”.
Australia’s chances were boosted by an injury blow for England, who have lost world number three Alison Waters to injury.