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Paul Coll makes the move to Head

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Head have swooped to sign world No.4 Paul Coll from Eye Rackets in a move spearheaded by the brand’s new professional player consultant Laura Massaro.

Negotiations between Massaro, Head’s global business manager Pasquale Ruzicka, Coll and his coach Rob Owen lasted several months. The New Zealander used Head rackets and bags for the first time at December’s Black Ball Open.

“Obviously it’s a tough industry to be in at the moment but I believed the company needed to invest in a top five male player to really put the brand on the map,” Massaro tells Squash Player.

“Paul has been making semis and finals regularly, has just risen to four in the world, and has been very open in stating he is ready to challenge for world No.1. He loved the racket from the very first hit.”

Ex-world champion Massaro showed something of a Midas touch by signing recent Harvard graduate Georgina Kennedy just before she won the England Squash Challenge in Manchester in November. Massaro was also instrumental in recent deals with USA’s Olivia Fiechter and recent Yale graduate Lucy Beecroft, the 24-year-old from Northumbria.

The Head role is one Massaro has transitioned into fairly smoothly since her retirement at the British Open in May 2019, with help from her husband Danny. “He’s helped me realise that when you’re at the top people are not giving you attention, they’re giving the position you hold attention. If it was genuinely about you, the person, that attention wouldn’t just stop.

“Danny has always reinforced that I’m not a better person just because I’ve won a squash tournament. I’m still myself and loved by my family and friends. I’ve always had that mindset and it’s stood me in good stead since I stopped playing.”

The Lancastrian has heeded the advice of fellow former world champion Peter Nicol, who warned her to consider post-retirement offers carefully “because you might end up in roles you’re not that passionate about.”

The 37-year-old had been coaching alongside Nicol’s wife Jess on all-girls squash camps and workshops in the USA for three years and was in the process of stepping up that role when Covid-19 hit. She works four days a month with young players at the England Squash academy.

Whilst that on-court work is curtailed for now, she’s been busy writing her autobiography and recording an audiobook version packed with bonus features.
It’s her Head role, though, that has kept her most busy. “I am the middle man between HQ and the players,” she explains. “I’m there to support them and lead contract renewals and negotiations. When things return to normal, I’ll be travelling to six to eight tournaments a year, scouting for young players.”

A trip to Head’s Austrian HQ earlier this year proved inspiring. “It was amazing,” she reflects. “To see the love, care and handiwork that goes into every racket – I wish I’d had that appreciation a bit earlier. It’s so much more than a conveyor belt. It’s a very intricate process with an incredible amount of thought behind it. It made me want to give my racket a cuddle!”



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