GEORGE TOWN - Squash queen Datuk Nicol David has earned accolades around the world for her amazing feats on the court.
But there is one she will treasure for a long time - from none other than her family after the 31-year-old Penangite made history yesterday as the longest-reigning squash World No. 1 ever.
"Nicol is all about hardwork and endless dedication. She is every bit a true professional who knows where to draw the line," said a proud brother-in-law Aaron Soyza.
Nicol, considered by some to be one of the greatest female squash players of all time, marked her 106th month as the world's top ranked player in the February Women's World Squash Rankings published by the Women's Squash Association (WSA).
Having first headed the association list in January 2006, she overtook the 105-month record set in February 1993 by Susan Devoy, the four-time world champion from New Zealand.
Aaron, who is married to Nicol's elder sister Cheryl, said the Malaysian squash icon had led by example and was a symbol of pride to the entire family.
"She has been World No. 1 for almost nine years. And she clinched eight world titles over that period," he said.
Aaron reserved special mention for Nicol's parents - Desmond and Ann Marie David - for their undivided support all the way.
"They have visited Nicol as she played in tournaments around the world. They even went to see Nicol at her training base in Amsterdam," he added.
Nicol's bag of titles included a record eight World Championship titles, two Commonwealth Games gold medals and four Asian Games gold medals.
Nicol has advanced to the semi-finals of the Cleveland Classic squash championship and will take on Omneya Abdel Kawy of Egypt today.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak joined Malaysians in congratulating Nicol.
"Congratulations to national squash queen Datuk Nicol David who created a new world record by being the world's number one in the WSA's ranking for 106 months," he tweeted.