Palmer White Legends Sept 2012

Semaine Greg Gaultier
Semaine Thierry Lincou
Camille Serme


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Chatting with John

Chatting with Dave

1st November 2012

Beautiful day it was on that Tuesday 19th December 2012, at St George's, when I was lucky enough to catch up with my old mates, David Palmer, who retired at the end of the Worlds in Rotterdam exactlya year ago, and John White, how head coach at Drexel University - host of the U.S. Open for the past two years.

A lot of laughs I can tell you. A few gallons of tea for me too. And between the good memories, and the few off the record stories, I managed to extract two little conversations that you may enjoy reading....

Doing an interview with John is about as easy as taking a quote from Ramy Ashour at the end of his matches. You've got to have your pen sharpened, your brain into gear, and being French I promise you doesn't make it easy. You sort of catch one word every ten, and try to make it make sense on the page...

Such a character bless him, great sense of humour, but a strong mind as well behind the jokes. Gosh I miss him.

Do you miss the Tour John?

I miss the travelling, seeing my friends, but not the training every day, the playing every day. Itís nice to actually get to go back home every day, have a routine, waking up, taking the kids to school - well, actually, the kids catch the bus to school we don't take them, going to work on a 5am train to Philly each day for 6am training at Drexel, doing something I love doing, having a day to day schedule.

Still, itís good to get away once in a while, and the Legends is such a great opportunity for us to get back where we used to live and train. Still, when Iím away, I quickly miss homeÖ

Where are you off now?

Dave and I are on our way first to Devon and Exeter, where we used to play for years. I remember us driving three four hours from Nottingham, but we didnít mind, as they so love squash up there, we had really great times.

Then we are off to Aberdeen for another set of Legends, it will be nice to see Derek [Ryan] and Dave [Evans].

Thatís one thing you take for granted when you are on the tour. You get to see your mates all the time, you just donít think about it. But then you retire, and itís taking a lot of planning, sometimes a year in advance, to manage to see them!

You have a few friends now in the US

Yes, nowadays itís amazing the number of great players we have at 2, 3 hours from Philly, like Palmer, Walker Ė Ali and Chris, Wael, Thierry, Power in Toronto, Shabana who is often in NY, and a few young American players like Illingworth, etc.

How is the family?

Suzie is now studying for a BSN (bachelors degree in Nursing), much easier now the kids are older. They are doing their own things, they entertain themselves.

Everything is fine, my older son will soon go to high school, and Iíll be in jail for shooting the first boy that takes my daughter outÖ

Last word?

Squash is blooming in the US colleges, now the aim would be to get it more accessible to allÖ

With Dave, it's easy, he speaks slowly - he realised a long time ago he was talking to a natural blond. One of the cleverest players on the Tour, extremely well educated and with a broad view of life.

Along with John and Thierry, truly the players I always felt the most comfortable with. I guess the fact all three of them  are happily married with kids had a lot to do with it...

And with the three of them now in the US, I may move there myself soon...

So what are you doing these days in Orlando

Iím coaching two families, Chloe who is 14, who is top three in her age group, and a brother and sister, 14/16 years old who started playing two years ago, and are improving quickly.

Iíve also started my small academy, Iím training Miguel [Rodriguez] and Mathew [Karwalski], and recently Steve Coppinger just joined us for a few weeks, along with Max Lee and Leo Au.

Plus I have a good contact with Craig from South Africa, and Iím going out there to train a few juniors. Not to forget my summer camps in Greenwich Westchester, plus Iím still heavily involved with Black Knight and Hi-Tec shoes.

You seem happy...

Well, itís the perfect combination, I train with juniors and young pros, around 25 to 50 in the world. Which is the age I started to work with Shawn [Moxham], and Iím trying to make a difference and do for them what Shawn did for me, to try and take them to the top 20Ö

And the family?

Kayla is 6, Miley is 3, all is good, and Iím hoping Mel  might get involved with my two sponsors on the marketing side of things.

Let's talk about PST then...

Fram, you've got to understand that PST is not in competition with PSA. Itís just a way for people like Wael or myself to earn a living, a second job, a second way to keep on doing my job as a squash player.

So, what's it all about then?

We really try and make it work, by taking squash competition to clubs that never heard of squash! And the US are so big, there are so many clubs, there is space for both PSA and PST reallyÖ

I still have trouble about the no let/stroke rule..

Well, we are not trying to say that everybody should adopt that no let/stroke system. But maybe, if a few of the tour refs were to come and see the way we are doing it, maybe it would help them on the tour, as nobody wants to see matches with 60, 70 letsÖ

How does it work?

PST format is smaller than PSA, normally 8 players, and the ranking is really not a priority, the idea is to make sure that we are selected for our Play-Offs in Detroit Athletic Club, where Michael Joint, an Aussie, signed a three years contract with PST.

Will you be back on the International scene?

Iím contemplating playing for Australia for the World Teams in Mulhouse, France, next year, and also maybe playing doubles in the next Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but thatís two years away.

Last word?

Iím really grateful to Tim and Peter for the Legends format, it allows us to play great players again, like Peter or John, and I guess that Thierry is soon to be the next additionÖ

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