Sport | Squash

Joelle King back to winning ways after 8 months out with injury

Joelle King in action against Kiwi teenager Abbie Holmes at the NZ Squash Championships in Tauranga on Friday, after 8 months out with injury. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand squash no. 1 Joelle King (Ngāti Porou) has made a winning return to the court after eight months out with injury.

King, 35, who has been sidelined with a disc problem in her back and a blown meniscus knee injury, beat Kiwi teenager Abbie Holmes, 18, at the New Zealand Squash Championships in Tauranga on Friday, winning 11-5, 11-2, 11-4 in the round of 16 match against the 17th seed.

“It was great to get back out there and blow out the cobwebs,” said King, the defending champion.

King made history last year when she won the championship a record tenth time, equalling Dame Susan Devoy.

“I’m just happy to be back on court after a big injury break.”

She will attempt to become the first ever player to win the women’s event eleven times.

“I will be gunning for that record but I think Susan has a few more British Open titles than me so I’ll let her hold onto that one!”

Playing her first match in Aotearoa in more than a year, the eight-time Commonwealth Games medallist was full of praise for her youthful opposite.

“She was a good opponent and one of the things I love about this competition is coming back here and seeing the generations coming through and having a bit of fun as we compete.”

King, who has a career-high ranking of no. 3 in the world, will play ninth seed Casey Owen at 10.20am in today’s quarterfinal, with the winner to advance to the semi-finals later in the day.

“I love the New Zealand Championships. It’s such a fun event and I always love seeing all the community and the great competition as well.”

The matches will be livestreamed all weekend. Viewers will need to subscribe to the free Squash NZ TV Channel to do so.