Shot And A Ghost, by James Willstrop
Something funny has happened on the way to the squash court in the past couple of decades. For reasons difficult to divine, the game somehow slipped off the mainstream sporting radar.
It's a curiosity that in the Eighties and Nineties, when the game was dominated by two Pakistani players, the imperious Jansher and Jahangir Khan, it received far more coverage in the British media than it does now, when we can celebrate an English World No 1.
No one is more disappointed than the incumbent, James Willstrop; it is a theme the Yorkshireman constantly returns to in this diary of 12 months on the 'T'. It would be easy to dismiss him as a bit of a whinger – he is a big Morrissey fan, after all – except that he does have a point, as evidenced by squash's repeated rejection as an Olympic sport in favour of antics such as formation drowning, aka synchronised swimming.
Without the backup which more feted stars enjoy, life on the international squash circuit can be tough; one can't imagine any hospital in the world refusing to treat Rafael Nadal until he produced a credit card, as happened to Willstrop in Egypt when he was stricken with acute gastroenteritis.
His painfully honest journal reveals that he is also a worrier, an obsessive/compulsive, a vegetarian and a lover of poetry and musicals. Some readers might be tempted to skip some of the lengthy sections detailing his injuries and training routines, but although the narrative pace can be uneven, Willstrop's candour shines through and makes this book an engrossing read.
Let's hope it serves to raise his profile; he, and his sport, deserve that.
Available in paperback from willstrop.co.uk, £9.99
Arts & Ents blogs
What a wonderful way to end this momentous series in the 50th year of Doctor Who. From the start of ...
Let's talk book blurbs, those quotes you get, usually from other writers, that are meant to entice y...
Fela Kuti, Jewish food and The Great Gatsby are just some of the reasons why the rainy weather ahead...
- 1 Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
- 2 Gove’s lesson: spare the comma, spoil the child
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.