World champion Laura Massaro insists she is approaching the defence of her Allam British Open title in Hull this week in a calm mood as she attempts to become the first English woman to retain the trophy since 1959.
The 30-year-old Lancastrian has catapulted into the public eye after becoming the first British woman ever to hold both the World Championship and British Open trophies at the same time, with national television, radio and many newspapers wanting to interview her.
However, she said as she prepared to open her 2014 British Open campaign against Hong Kong’s Joey Chan: “I’m not feeling any pressure going in as reigning champion. I’m just looking forward to getting back on court.
“It’s been two months since my last WSA event and I’m excited to be in another tournament.”
There is an extra incentive for all the players taking part in the women’s Open this year, with sponsor Dr Assem Allam having boosted their prize money to $100,000, and Massaro is grateful for Dr Allam’s generosity.
The world no.2 is again seeded to meet favourite and four-time champion Nicol David in the final, after dethroning the Malaysian in last year’s showdown to become England’s first winner of the title for 22 years.
“The British will be really special this year,” said Massaro. “Returning as defending champion will be a nice feeling.
“I’ve tried to keep my training the same as it has been for the last few events. No need to change a formula that has been working.
“However, I am fully aware of how hard it is to win the British Open once – let alone twice – so I will take it round by round and see how it goes.
“If I am lucky enough to win the title again, it will be a career-high for me for sure.”