English squash player and number 28 in the world, Nick Simpson, has stated that he is “essentially unemployed” as he sits out the rest of the season healing from his hip surgery. Simpson told BBC Sport how he felt about it, saying, “It feels pretty rubbish.”
Simpson had intended to practice and play on the world tour despite his hip problem, until April, but at a tournament in New York, he suffered an abductor muscle injury that needed attending to. This brought his hip operation forward and now he sits out the season.
“I have saved and planned for an injury break, but it’s still never easy and, to be honest, I never expected I would be injured for a nine-month period.” Simpson continued, “Squash is a sport where pretty much all of my wages are made up from tournament earnings and appearance fees for teams and exhibition matches, so essentially I’m unemployed for nine months this year.”
This statement by the Englishman shows the reality behind the sport — that many players live on their winnings, endorsement deals, sponsorships, promotions, appearance deals, and types of income. While many people may believe squash players are somehow rich like a football player finds themselves, this is not true in most cases.
Squash players, even world-renowned professionals, are squash addicts that truly play for the game. Of course, the better one is at the game, the better opportunities you will get in terms of sponsorships, appearance fees, and of course, prize money if you win. Otherwise, these lovers of squash are just like everyone else — working hard to really earn their yearly income.
“It’s very difficult actually when you compare it to a team sport or many of the other Olympic sports, where the athletes have really good funding which covers most of their wages, […] There is going to be a big mountain to climb, but at the same time I know that I deserved to be where I was in the rankings,” Simpson stated.
When the Englishman returns to playing, he will be under ranking protection, which means he will return at number 35 — 10 places lower than his ranking at the time he suffered his injury — but Simpson has actually stated that he expects it to drop significantly afterwards unless his gameplay is on point and his results are good when he makes his comeback.
“If I can get my level back then I’m confident I can climb the rankings reasonably quickly and start competing for titles again.” We hope that Simpson can get back on the court soon so that we can explore his next moves on the circuit.
Until then, this squash player will be healing up for his comeback, where he intends to take on the competition to continue making a living at what he does best — squashing it on the court.