History maker Gina Kennedy might just allow those comparisons to tennis star Emma Raducanu now after winning the women’s singles squash title in Birmingham.
The 25-year-old became the first English woman to claim the Commonwealth Games singles crown with a 3-1 (11-7 11-5 12-14 11-5) win over Canadian Hollie Naughton.
It completes a remarkable rise for the Bromley native, who has risen from No.167 to the world’s top 10 inside a year and trains at the same club frequented by Raducanu.
And after trying to avoid being mentioned in the same breath as the US Open champion in the last 12 months, Kennedy conceded she may have finally earned it now.
“I mean I have said before, people have been likening me to her since she won the US Open really and since my rise,” said the Harvard graduate.
“But I’ve said in every single interview, until I win something big, please don’t compare me to her because she’s achieved something incredible and I haven’t yet. Now I’ve won the Commonwealth Games gold medal, I feel like I will allow people to compare me a bit more.”
Birmingham native Sarah-Jane Perry, who Kennedy beat in the semi-final, also joined her on the podium after taking bronze in a five-game epic with New Zealand’s Joelle King.
But it was not to be for 38-year-old defending champion James Willstrop in his men’s singles bronze medal match, as he lost 3-0 to close friend Saurav Ghosal of India.
Willstrop lived down the road from Ghosal for years and both were coached by his father Malcolm, who passed away last year, leading to an emotionally charged clash.
“It’s quite weird really because as I’ve pointed out we’re very, very close. We lived two minutes from each other for years, we trained at the same squash club,” said Willstrop.
“My dad coached us both for years and we’ve travelled the world together so we couldn’t get closer really, it was a very strange but really exciting thing to try to go into a bronze medal match with him after all these years.
“We’re both towards the end of the career rather than the beginning so it’s amazing we’ve managed to do it, but I’m gutted really with the performance."