What led you to write
a whole book?
it was something I wanted to do, that was my ultimate
motivation. I had my weekly column in the Yorkshire Evening
Post and so I was gaining experience, and found enjoyment in
When I spoke with Rod Gilmour and he suggested book
possibilities, I was immediately positive and interested.
Secondly, there is a distinct void in good, interesting
sports books, and an even bigger void with regard to squash
books. I suppose my ambition was to write a decent one.
Thirdly, squash needs promoting. People like souvenirs,
mementos or books and there isn't enough of this. I hope our
efforts in promoting the book (and they are considerable
efforts) will promote the game over the next months.
Did you write it in one go?
I wrote my diaries from Jan 2010 to Feb 2011. So the initial
drafts took a year to write. Then the real work began.
It took another year to draft, re-draft and draft again and
again, before editing and proof reading, which is the
In the end Vanessa and I read the bloody thing about three
times in one weekend, checking for spelling errors and
punctuation marks ... I'm sure Rod was doing the same.
Put it this way, I don't think I'll be reading it again for
a while ... But an enjoyable process all the same.
Did you think about quitting writing while you were
trying to finish it? Did you think, what the heck am I doing ???
There were one or two shaky moments. I knew I wanted to
write the book, but at times I was unsure whether to include
some passages, which involved some issues that I would never
talk to anyone about.
Why it seemed easier to write about such issues in book form
I'll never know, but it did! The book had to be honest, or
it would have been rubbish. And rubbish books won't do will
Are you happy with the result?
Absolutely. I'm just waiting for it to storm the Sunday
times bestseller list, but while Peter Andre is around that
will remain difficult.
When you finished, did you have a bit of a let down,
like after a big victory, a feeling of loneliness, emptiness?
It hasn't been too bad because in many respects there is
still a lot of work to do. We, (Rod, Claudia, Graham, Steve
and Nousheen at SBM, Scarlett and Jim at ESR, and Leigh at
Capitalize, have been working so hard for me) are trying our
utmost to promote it.
Instead of writing diary entries, I am now writing emails to
get the book out there ! So far I can't thank people enough
for their support. We've had a good response ... That'll all
change when they read it of course!
Did it help you sort out things in your head? Can we
attribute your recent success/achievement to that sorting
out on paper?
Well it gave me a good focus off the squash court. I never
felt that there was lots of spare time to fill at
tournaments because I could always concentrate on writing.
People tend to relate the book to the wins but I'm not sure
that it was the magic solution! I did enjoy putting things
down on paper though.
Now about FOOOOOOOOOD....
When did you start questioning the way you were eating?
I've always been interested in nutrition. Not only is eating
such a pleasurable thing to do but it is a priority for
athletes. It's a shame so many people treat eating food as
something to rush, or do quickly and not very well.
I started to think about the way I ate meat and the harsh
way it is brought to the table about 5 or 6 years ago. In
the end I couldn't face it.
What pushed you to change your diet.
I saw footage of animals being slaughtered for meat. That
pushed me over the edge, and I started to avoid meat in
2007. I was at a tournament in India and knew there was no
What are the challenges you have faced, and what are
the advantages you find in it?
I feel better, I run faster, I train harder, and I think
clearer. I feel like Popeye ... I discovered more foods and
flavours that I had never tried before.
The only time it is ever challenging is when I go to a
restaurant and they don't bother to offer a dish without
meat, which is highly unusual, unless you are in France of
course. There are plenty of great meat free foods in the
I suppose dealing with the people who can't believe for a
minute that an athlete can be a vegetarian is fairly
challenging. There have been so many, and some who you might
not expect, who have doubted that it's achievable. I'm not
sure why there's a stigma attached to vegetarianism, but
Does your entourage follow the same diet?
The people around me at tournaments follow it when they
are with me, yes! Vanessa and I drag them to all the local
veggie haunts, especially in New York and London, where
there are so many. ;-)