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David the famous starts in obscurity

MANCHESTER, England (AFP) — Nicol David, arguably the most honoured squash player of all time, found herself on an outside court while starting her bid to regain the World Open title on Tuesday.

David began with a comfortable 11-6, 11-3, 11-2 win over Sharon Wee, her fellow Malaysian, on a conventional plaster court, which means she will have to adapt to the totally different all-glass show court when she plays her second round on Thursday.

It was a weirdly, low-key beginning for a player who in recent months has been awarded two rare and highly-prestigious awards in Malaysia, the Order of Merit and the title of Datuk, as well as becoming Asian sportswoman of the year and being world number one for more than two years consecutively.

"I was just expecting anything when I came to the tournament," David said, when she was questioned about this. "It's men and women together at this tournament so you just have to see.

"It's difficult to start off on the outside courts, but you just have to expect these things to happen. You just have to play your game and not think about it.

"But it would be great to have some of the girls on (the show court) with the guys so people can see both straight away in the first round. It's just a matter of organising times."

David will get a chance to practise on the slower all-glass court with spectators looking in on all four sides instead of just through the back wall, before playing her second round against Rebecca Chiu, the world number 14 from Hong Kong.