Australian squash player Sarah Elizabeth Fitz-Gerald (born 1 December 1968) won five World Open titles in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, and 2002. As one of the greatest players in the sport, she stands alongside Janet Morgan, Nicol David, Susan Devoy, Michelle Martin, and Heather McKay.
Fitzgerald grew up in Melbourne, Australia, one of the nations’ top squash hotbeds. The Australian Junior Female Athlete of the Year in 1987 was she who won the female World Junior Championship. Her best performance came in the 1987 Women’s World Team Squash Championships where she finished second to England. The 1992 Women’s World Team Squash Championships saw her represent Australia once again, and this time the team won the championship. Interestingly, Fitzgerald would go on to win seven World Teams Championships.
During the early 1990s, she won numerous titles, but 1996 marked her breakthrough. Cassie Jackman of England lost to her in the World Open Final. She defeated Michelle Martin in successive finals the next two years after that.
Due to knee surgery, the next two years did not bring the same level of success. It was an epic semifinal match between her and Carol Owens in 2000. However, she came back in 2001 and recorded a thorough 9–0, 9–3, 9–2 victory over New Zealand’s Leilani Joyce.
In 2002, she won her last World Open, defeating Natalie Pohrer 10–8, 9–3, 7–9, 9–7. A gold medal was also awarded to her during the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England.
Her achievements and services to women’s squash, as well as to promoting a healthy lifestyle, earned her the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in January 2004. From 1991 to 2002, she served as the chairwoman and president of the Women’s International Squash Players Association. Sport Australia inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 2010.
She won her fourth World Masters title in 2018.
The results for Sarah Fitzgerald in all tournaments in the WISPA World’s Tour:
- WISPA Platinum Series (2)
- WISPA Gold Series (9)
- WISPA Silver Series (14)
- WISPA Tour Series (35)
Titles by Major Tournaments:
- World Open (5)
- British Open (2)
- Qatar Classic (1)
The early career of Sarah Fitz-Gerald brought her state and national titles, and she continued her career in the senior ranks by winning the World Junior Championship and earning the honor of ‘Australian Junior Athlete of the Year’ in 1987. Her sensational achievement was winning the title in Malaysia in 1996 without dropping a single game and losing 29 points.
However, following was even better. Fiz-Gerald continued to win titles throughout 1997, winning seven more titles and winning the Gold Medal at the first World Games in Lahti, Finland. Throughout autumn, Fitz-Gerald won successive World Open titles in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as her first Australian Open in her hometown.
FitzGerald was in danger of losing her crown in 1998 due to a mixed year, but she persevered to win her third World Open title.
Fitz-Gerald saved 8 match balls against Michelle Martin (Aust) in the 5th game of the best competition women have ever played in. Fitz-Gerald survived 2 games to 2 and 8-2 down in the 5th game to win her third World Open title.
As well as winning the World Team Championship in 1998, Fitz-Gerald also became the fourth Australian to win the World Team Championship. She bowed out of the sport for 4 months after experiencing cartilage damage to her left knee.
She was unable to play nearly all of 1999 after she returned from the World Tour prematurely. Fitz-Gerald later had further surgeries and underwent rehabilitation.
In 2000, McIlroy won five successive Tour events before undergoing another period of rehabilitation and losing in the quarterfinals and semifinals of both the British and World Opens. In the UniversalSportsClub Classic two weeks later, Fitz-Gerald turned the tables on the new World Open Champion.
The British Open was the only event Fitz Gerald missed. Her second Australian Open title came at the NIA in Birmingham, England, where she finally captured this prestigious title.
In 2001, 2002, she was named Australian Athlete of the Year and was awarded the Dawn Fraser Award, as well as winning all events in 2002 and capturing the Commonwealth Games Gold medal. WISPA’s most successful player today is Sarah with sixty-five (65) World Tour titles.
In 2010, Sarah was a member of Australia’s World Team Championships team in New Zealand and helped the nation regain glory days by winning the competition and making it 80 times she represented her country.
She is an ambassador for the Australia Day Program, Junior Girls Program, and Patron of the Victoria Squash Federation, and was President of the Women’s International Squash Players Association (WISPA). Fitz-Gerald also served as Vice President of WISPA.
She was presented with the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her continued achievements in squash, and was inducted into the Squash Australia, Squash World Federation, WISPA, and Victorian Squash Federation Halls of Fame.
Sarah has won World Masters, World Games, and British Masters titles. Serving on the board of Squash Australia and the major games committee of the Oceania Squash Federation, she has served on these committees since 2004. At the moment, she is the Vice President of the World Squash Federation, President of the Squash & Racquetball Victoria Association, and on the PSA Discipline Board.