KUALA LUMPUR: Nicol David might not be the favourite for the Commonwealth Games women's singles gold medal but that does not mean she won't be going all out to complete a golden hat-trick at the Gold Coast in April.
The 2010 and 2014 gold medallist is currently ranked behind England's World No 4 Laura Massaro and just ahead of No 8 Sarah-Jane Perry of England, No 9 Joelle King of New Zealand and No 10 Alison Waters of England.
It will ensure World No 7 Nicol will have a major challenge on her hand to become the first squash player to win three successive singles gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.
"I won't be the top seed but it is still something for me to strive for," said Nicol, 34, in assessing her chances of retaining her gold medal.
"I think there is no better way to look at it. I have done it in the past and I still want to go for the best. It is still something I'm striving for."
Eight-time world champion Nicol last won a PSA Tour title in March 2017 in Colombia and has made the semi-finals of just one World Series tournament since.
But Nicol feels her performance has been improving although it is not reflected in the results.
"My performances are improving with each tournament and I'm seeing progress in what I'm putting together," said Nicol, who lost in the quarter-finals of the Saudi Masters and Tournament of Champions in her two outings this year.
"The results might not show it but I know at a deeper level how I'm feeling on court. Now it is just about working to be consistent.
"I feel good and I'm always up for the challenge and I bring positive energy to each match."
With less than two months to go before arriving at the Gold Coast, Nicol will play at the Windy City Open in Chicago on Feb 22-28 before embarking on two training stints with her coach Liz Irving in Brisbane,
"These next two months is about building up to the Commonwealth Games, that is the main focus, followed by the Asian Games and the World Championship," said former World No 1 Nicol.
"The last few tournaments I have played are a benchmark for what I need to work on, training wise the programmes have been set.
"Chicago will be my last tournament before the Commonwealth Games and then I will have a good three to four weeks to continue my preparation with two training stints in Australia to get a feel of the environment."