Palmer out to break Games drought

from The Age

SH7462David Palmer‘s great advantage as he tries to break his Commonwealth Games gold medal drought is that it’s the only gap in his stellar squash career resume.

The 38-year-old former world No.1 and world champion has come out of retirement to compete at his fifth Games, hoping to improve on his two Commonwealth silver medals and four bronze.

The Australian squash team arrived in Glasgow on Monday and coach Rodney Eyles said Palmer’s experience would be a major asset in the men’s doubles competition.

Palmer and Cameron Pilley are the No.2 seeds behind English pair Nick Matthew and Adrian Grant.

Matthew and Grant beat Palmer and Stewart Boswell in a two-hour final at the 2010 Delhi Games.

“Those guys have been looking fantastic together,” Eyles said of Palmer and Pilley.

“I really like those guys together – Dave on the backhand side, he’s pretty immovable over there.

“He’s pretty experienced and his feathers won’t be ruffled.”

SH7463The Australians have had a good, long look at their English rivals and are confident they can be beaten.

Late last year, Palmer and Pilley took the opportunity to practise against Matthew and Grant and Eyles said it went well.

“That was our opportunity to see where they’re at,” Eyles said.

“We took it pretty seriously and I think they did as well.”

Palmer will also combine with Rachael Grinham in the mixed doubles, where they are ranked third.

The three doubles competitions are Australia’s best chance of squash success.

Australia has won a gold medal each time since squash joined the program at Kuala Lumpur in 1998 – also Palmer’s first Games.

While other countries have higher-ranked players, Eyles said Australia’s overall experience would be important.

SH7464“All our pairings have a good chance,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we get somewhere in the singles as well.

“It’s the Commonwealth Games – those nerves can creep in.

“With our experienced players, they’ve dealt with it before and a lot of the players have won world championships.

“They’re all ready for those big matches.”

from The Age