Which squash player achieved the longest unbeaten run?

In the history of men’s squash, the player who achieved the longest unbeaten run was Pakistani Jahangir Khan who, according to Guinness World Records, won 555 consecutive games betweem November 1981 and November 1986. Of course, a five-year unbeaten run is a magnificent accomplishment but, when it comes to persistent achievement, even the six-time World Open winner cannot lay a racket on Australian Heather McKay.

Born Heather Blundell, in Queanbeyan, near Canberra in New South Wales on July 31, 1941, McKay took up squash at the age of 18, alongside fellow members of Evergreens Hockey Club who, like her, were ‘in search of an extracurricular activity to advance our fitness level on the hockey field’. In the quarter-finals of the 1960 New South Wales State Championships – just her second tournament – she lost to compatriot Yvonne West and, in the final of the 1962 Scottish Open she lost, in five games, to Kenyan-born Englishwoman Fran Marshall. Thereafter, though, McKay became the force majeure in women’s squash throughout the sixties and seventies and never lost another match.

She avenged her defeat by Marshall by beating the same opponent in straight games in the final of the 1962 British Open and went on to win what was, at the time, the de facto world championship, every year up to, and including, 1977. During her 19-year unbeaten run, having turned professional, McKay also won the unofficial Women’s World Squash Championship in Brisbane in 1976 and the inaugural official World Open in London in 1979. She retired from the sport at the age of 38 and, in the 2018 Australia Day Honours was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for ‘distinguished service to squash’.

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