In compiling this list of the greatest squash players ever, our editors considered two factors -- a player's career achievements and his or her lasting impact on the game. The five finalists were Jahangir Khan, Jansher Khan, Nicol David, Geoff Hunt and Heather McKay. This page will be updated frequently to reflect current events and players.
1. Jahangir Khan
Squash is a sport where the title "The Greatest" is heavily disputed. There have been many dominant players in the game's history -- each reigned over a specific era or period. Among these players, Jahangir Khan of Pakistan, stood out as the most deserving of this title. His career achievements were impressive. Jahangir won the World Open (also known as the world championship) six times and the prestigious British Open (which carries equal weights with the world championship) a record ten times. This is in addition to numerous other titles. He won 555 consecutive matches from 1981 to 1986 and earned a Guiness World Record in the process. He ended his career on a high note, helping Pakistan win the 1993 World Team Championship.
Jahangir's greatest achievement was his participation in the North American hardball squash circuit. During his time, there were two types of squash competition. The international circuit - where Jahangir primarily played - used a softer ball, while the North American circuit used a harder ball. Players who played on both circuits were rare, and very few of them achieved dual successes. The Pakistani was an exception. Jahangir participated in several tournaments on the hardball circuit and won most of them. He also enjoyed dominance over Mark Talbott, who was the best hardball player at the time. His immediate and resounding success elevated international squash's standing in America and was a factor in the decline of the American squash.
2. Jansher Khan
If Jahangir were the Roger Federer of squash, Jansher Khan would be Rafael Nadal. The Pakistani star's achievements were up there with the sport's greatest. Jansher won the World Open a record eight times and the British Open six times. He reached the world no. 1 ranking in 1988 and retained it for at least 10 years. Jansher was probably the only one of his time to enjoy a winning record against the great Jahangir, including eight straight matches at one stretch. His winning edge was the reason why Jahangir did not win the world championship again after 1988.
His legacy, however, was limited. Jansher either did not play on the hardball circuit or did not enjoy any measurable success. The unwillingness to venture outside of his comfort zone raised questions about his adaptability, and lessened his image as a worldwide ambassador for international squash. Moreover, his impressive record against Jahangir came in the waning years of the rival's career. Still, Jansher remains one of the most accomplished squash players in history. His numerous records won't be surpassed for many generations to come.
3. Nicol David
No one in the history of women's squash has achieved more than Nicol David of Malaysia. David was the first Asian player to win a world championship and also the first Asian to rank no. 1 in the world. Since 2005, the Malaysian has won nearly everything that is offered on the women's circuit. David captured the World Open at least eight times and the British Open at least five times. She also won gold medals at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and World Games. She reached the world no.1 ranking in 2006 and stayed there through 2014. In total, David has won at least 80 professional titles and is likely to add many more before her career is over. Of the five players on this list, she is the only one with the potential to move up on the list and possibly earn the title of The Greatest in the future.
4. Geoff Hunt
If not for the Pakistan duo of Jahangir and Jansher, Geoff Hunt would have been considered the greatest male squash player of all time. The Australian dominated competitive squash in the 1970s, winning a whooping 178 titles. His stellar resume included four World Open titles, eight British Open victories and three International Amateur Championships. Unfortunately, his career was cut short by injuries. His legacy was somewhat downgraded by the low level of competition at the time. Hunt did not have peak-form Jahangir, Jansher and many other great players as his rivals. In another word, he dominated an era when squash was not very competitive. Still, one can't deny that he was the best of his time and his achievements should not be discounted.
5. Heather McKay
Australia has produced many fine female squash players and McKay was arguably the best among them. The Queanbeyan native dominated competitive squash in the 1960s and 1970s, winning the prestigious British Open a whooping 16 times; she enjoyed a perfect 16-0 in the final. When the women's game finally had its own world championship in 1979, McKay captured the title at the remarkable age of 38. Few players, men or women, have achieved a comparable record in their careers. Unfortunately, the lackluster competition in her time greatly affected her legacy. Squash was not fully developed as a global sport until the early 1980s; the women's game was mostly played by the English and Australians. This is in contrast with today's game. The 2013 edition of the Women's World Open featured players from 12 different countries and territories. Like Geoff Hunt, McKay was a dominant player in a less competitive era.
~Last updated on March 27, 2016