came of age in 2001. The Belgian-based Aussie swept through the British
Open field at the NIA in Birmingham in June to become the first Australian
for twenty years to claim the sport’s most established title. Then in
August – in his fifth successive PSA Tour final appearance of the year – he
claimed his debut Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Open title.
His phenomenal consistency
earned him the ultimate reward the following month when he deposed Peter
Nicol to become world No1 for the first time on 1st September.
The 27-year-old from
Lithgow in New South Wales joined the PSA in 1994 and won four successive
PSA Tour titles in 1997.
After his PSA success in
2001, Palmer turned his attention on the World Team Championships, and led
hosts Australia to a 3-0 victory over title-holders England in the
semi-finals, then took the trophy with a 3-0 win over Egypt in the final in
Palmer enjoyed an
excellent year in 2002 – winning his first Super Series Finals title in June
in London (beating defending champion Peter Nicol in the semis, then Thierry
Lincou in the final) and a month later picking up bronze medals in both the
singles and men’s doubles in the Commonwealth Games in England.
But victories in the US
Open and South African Challenge later in the year led to his crowning glory
– success in his first World Open in front of a local supporters in his
adopted home town of Antwerp in Belgium. Seeded three, he made his
breakthrough after beating Jonathon Power in the semi-finals, then – in one
of the most dramatic comebacks of all-time – fought back from 0-2 down to
overcome Scotland’s John White 13-15 12-15 15-6 15-14 15-11 in the
Palmer had a disappointing
start to 2003, after being laid low by complications following the removal
of his appendix in Bermuda in February. After reaching the semi-finals of
the Tournament of Champions in New York in February, he was absent from the
PSA Tour until his comeback at the English Open in June.
Back to his best by
September, David reached the US Open final (where he lost to Nicol) before
crossing the Atlantic to secure his second British Open title in October,
this time beating the English world No1 in the final in Nottingham
After an indifferent start
in 2004, Palmer progressed two round beyond his seeding in the inaugural
five-star Bermuda Open in March – beating No2 seed Peter Nicol in the
quarter-finals and Jonathon Power in a five-game marathon in the semis.
In the final, spurred on
by his new adopted ‘home’ fans on the British colony island where he is now
based, Palmer battled hard against fourth seed Lee Beachill, but eventually
went down to the Englishman in straight games.
He reached the PSA Masters
final in Qatar the following month, beating John White and Lee Beachill -
but it was back in England in November that he joined a select band of
three-times British Open champions when he successfully defended his title
in Nottingham, defeating world champion Amr Shabana in four games in the
A heavy December schedule
saw Palmer reach the World Open semi-finals in Qatar, then the
quarter-finals of the Pakistan Open in Islamabad (where he lost out to
Jonathon Power), before moving into World Doubles Championships action in
India where (with Anthony Ricketts) he reached the semi-finals of the Men's
event and (with Rachael Grinham) claimed the Mixed title.
After marrying Melinda in
January 2005, David rejoined the PSA Tour in February's Tournament of
Champions in New York, where he made it to the semi-finals after overcoming
Jonathon Power in a 93-minute quarter-final.