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‘Absolutely gutted’: Injury prevents Joelle King defending NZ Open title

Eight-time Commonwealth Games medallist Joelle King (Ngāti Porou) has withdrawn from next week’s NZ Open in Tauranga due to injury.

King, who won last year’s open, has been struggling with a back injury for the past six weeks and says she needs more time to recover.

“I’m absolutely gutted, the NZ Open is one of the highlights of my year,” King said on Sunday in a Squash NZ release.

“I really wanted to be able to play in front of this home crowd but unfortunately my body just isn’t up to it right now.”

The NZ Open begins on December 5 and is being played as part of the NZ Festival of Squash, which will see more than 500 matches played across three major tournaments, made up of the NZ Open, Oceania Junior Championships and the WSF Men’s World Teams Championships.

The world no. 8 ranked women’s player says she will still be in attendance, cheering on her teammates and friends, and potentially doing some guest commentary.

“The whole festival of squash is such a great event, so I’ll be spending as much time as possible down at the courts. I do really wish I was playing but it will be nice to watch and just be able to soak up what’s going to be a great atmosphere,” says King.