The world of squash contains many fascinating facts that you probably never had any idea about. For example, did you know superstar tennis player Roger Federer and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar are both squash players?
I have researched many sources, and come up with my favourite 20 squash facts that you probably never knew. Here they are…
1. There Are Many Famous Tennis Players Who Play Squash
The sports of tennis and squash are obviously similar in many ways, both using a racket and ball, and being played on a court.
Despite the different techniques involved in the two sports, there are many people who enjoy playing both, especially as in many countries the squash and tennis seasons are at different times of the year.
Perhaps less well known is the fact that many famous tennis players are also keen squash players. Perhaps the three best known of these are Swiss great Roger Federer (20 times grand slam tournament winner), Swedish legend Stefan Edberg (6 grand slam titles), and English player and well-known commentator Andrew Castle.
2. A Squash Court Was Used During The Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a collaboration of many brilliant scientists in America from 1942 until 1945, that worked together to try to develop the world’s first nuclear bomb. They were successful, and the project was crucial in bringing about the end of World War Two.
The first controlled experiment carried out during this project took place in a squash court at the University of Chicago. They built the world’ first nuclear reactor in 1942, that was housed in this court.
The reactor was contained the world’s first controlled and self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
3. Squash Is Played In 185 Countries
There are a total of 195 countries throughout the world, so the simple fact is that there are only ten countries that don’t play squash on the planet.
This means that approximately 95% of countries play squash.
If you think about some of the ten countries that don’t, you can imagine that in some such as Antarctica the playing of squash just wouldn’t be practical.
4. A Squash Game During A Queen’s Labor
In November 1948 the whole of Britain was waiting with excitement as Queen Elizabeth II went into labor. She was expecting her first child, who would be heir to the throne. This was later on found out to the Prince Charles.
She had a marathon labor lasting 30 hours. During a part of this labor, Prince Philip tried to relax by playing a game of squash.
Male roles during labors were quite different in those days, and there are probably not many men that could get away with that today.
5. Squash Is Generally A Sport Of Well-Educated People
This is probably generalising slightly, and it will also differ from country to country. However, certainly in North America there is evidence that the vast majority of squash players are college graduates.
The startling truth appears to be that 57% of squash players in the USA have higher graduate degrees, and a staggering 98% of players are college graduates.
6. Squash Playing Comedians
Who would have thought that squash and comedy go together really well but there are several funny-men that have enjoyed the game.
One of the most famous celebrity squash players was the UK comedy actor Leonard Rossiter. He came to squash later in life, but was one of the strongest players at his club, and he used to really enjoy beating other younger actors.
There is a rumour that the UK comedian, author and Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams plays squash.
Squash was mentioned in the UK comedy series The Office, and the two leading males in the series – David Brent and Gareth Keenan – are said to play it.
Though not strictly squash, the famous American actor Eddie Murphy is apparently a huge fan of racquetball and has had a court in his house.
7. Junior Participation In Squash Is Growing Rapidly!
Things are looking great for the future of squash, as the sport is growing rapidly amongst youngsters around the world. The number of juniors playing increases by as much as 20%-30% a year, making it one of the world’s fastest growing sports amongst children.
This growth is fastest in Egypt and the USA, with the sport also growing amongst juniors in the UK.
8. A 38 Hour Squash Marathon
One of the most hotly contested world records in the field of squash is that of the longest ever squash marathon. This record has been attempted and broken numerous times in the last few years.
The current holders of the record are Len Granger and Jamie Barnett, both from the UK. Their marathon achievement took place on the 4th and 5th September 2015 at Barnt Green Sports Club in Barnt Green, Worcestershire.
The attempt was a charity fund-raiser, and they brought in around £5,000 for two local charities. They played for a total of 38 hours, 0 minutes and 27 seconds.
In 2017 there was an unofficial attempt made at the record by Kaitlyn Watts and Richard Bell, who were both only 16 at the time. Again, both these players were British. They attempted the record to raise funds for themselves to be able to travel to America to join in squash tournaments there.
They played squash for a total of 40 hours and 41 seconds. Unfortunately, because they could not afford to pay for a representative of the Guiness World Records to be there to moderate and record the event, they have not been awarded the official record.
9. Singing Squash Players
There are a couple of very high-profile singers that are also squash players.
The UK fifties and sixties rock ‘n’ roll legend Tommy Steele is a keen squash player. He was one of the first teen rock idols, and appeared in many films. He had number one records, including ‘Singing The Blues’ in 1957.
Also the legendary writer of the song ‘America Pie’ Don McLean is apparently a squash player. McLean also wrote a song for Elvis, as well as the famous song ‘Vincent’ about Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh.
10. Squash Originated From A Sport Developed In A Prison
Squash began life as a variant of an older sport called Rackets. This had been invented at the London Debtor’s Prison.
The way squash was invented is probably more well known. The sport of Rackets was played at Harrow School, an independent school just outside London. Rackets was a game possibly slightly similar to racquetball, that used an extremely bouncy rubber ball. The idea of the game was to wait for it to bounce off the walls before hitting it.
The players of this game experimented with playing with balls that had burst. They found that the balls bounced a lot less, and this made the game much more agile and fast-paced. A new sport was born!
Apparently it was also around this time that the name for the sport was also developed. Due to the way the punctured balls ‘squashed’ into the wall on impact, the name ‘squash’ seemed an obvious choice.
11. The Titanic Had A Squash Court
Now at the bottom of the Atlantic, the Titanic possessed a squash court.
This has been reported to be the first squash court on a ship.
The court also had it’s very own Professional Squash Attendant, the 24 year-old UK born Fred Wright.
First class passengers could pay two shillings and tuppence for a half an hour game on the court. They could either play against Fred or have a squash lesson. His wage was very low, and he relied on tips. Unfortunately Fred died in the sinking and his body was never recovered.
12. The World’s Longest Squash Rally
The current record for this took a staggering 1 hour, 4 minutes and 28 seconds to complete.
The world record was achieved on Saturday 10th December 2016 at Edinburgh Sports Club, by Simon Boughton and Mark James.
They completed 2536 shots in a single rally.
13. Famous Squash Playing Cricketers
The world of cricket comprises several squash players.
Sachin Tendulkar, probably the biggest superstar in the history of the game, is said to play squash. He is the highest scoring batsman in test match cricket, and the only player to break 15,000 test runs.
Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev is also said to play squash. At the time of his retirement from test cricket in 1994, Kapil Dev held the world record for greatest number of wickets with 434. He was both national captain and national coach, and in 2002 was voted Wisden’s Indian Player of the Twentieth Century.’
Another notable cricketing squash exponent is the ex-Australian captain Steve Waugh. Waugh led the dominant Australian cricket team of the second half of the 1990’s and early 2000s. He was the captain during 15 of the 16 consecutive test wins that team achieved, a record that stands to this day.
14. An Ex-England Football Manager
The famous UK footballer Kevin Keegan is a keen squash player. He was a forward that played for several clubs including Liverpool. He was also a manager of several big clubs such as Newcastle and Manchester City, and he managed the English national team.
15. It’s The Healthiest Sport!
Squash has been voted the healthiest sport to play by Forbes Magazine. This was based on a number of key factors, including calories burned and cardio-respiratory endurance.
Other factors taken into consideration was the relatively low risk of picking up an injury, and the benefits in flexibility, muscle endurance, and strength.
Squash matches can help you burn off up to 1000 calories an hour. That’s quite a figure, and one very few other sports can come close to.
16. There Are Around 25 Million Players Worldwide
The main countries where it is played are the UK, Egypt, USA, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, India, and New Zealand.
Statistics vary depending on who you believe, but the figure of 25 million seems to be a rough consensus.
17. Squash Is A Quickly Growing Sport
Squash is a rapidly developing and expanding sport.
In the USA it is growing quickly, with The Sports & Fitness Association (SFIA) saying that there was 82% growth between 2007 and 2011.
There is also huge amounts of growth in Egypt, following the many successes of their top players, which are now most of the top players in the world.
18. James Bond V Squash
Did you know that 007 actor Sean Connery plays squash?
The man behind the James Bond title role is apparently a keen squash player. In his acting career Sir Sean won one Academy Award, two Baftas, and three Golden Globes.
He is best known for his seven James Bond appearances between 1962 and 1983, but also appeared in numerous blockbusting films, such as Marnie, Indiana Jones, and The Name of the Rose.
Sean Connery retired from acting and producing in 2003. He was polled in the Sunday Herald as ‘The Greatest Living Scot’.
19. Grace Kelly’s Husband Played Every Day
The famous American actress Grace Kelly was best known for her roles in three Hitchcock films, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, and To Catch a Thief.
She retired from acting at the extremely young age of 26 to marry the Prince of Monaco, Rainier III. For the rest of her life she lived as the consort of Monaco.
Her husband, Rainier III ruled Monaco for 56 years, making him one of the longest reigning monarchs in European history. Perhaps part of the longevity was the fact that he played squash every single day.
20. There Are Approximately 50,000 Squash Courts In The World
The current estimate is that there are 50,000 courts.
The country that has the most courts is the UK, with approximately 9000.
Other countries that have more than 1000 courts include Germany, Egypt, the United States of America, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Malaysia, France, the Netherlands, and Spain.