England’s most successful squash player of all time, Nick Matthew will be gunning for his tenth and final British National title in Manchester this week.
Matthew has reigned victorious in the competition for six successive years and is ranked top seed for this year’s event.
“It is something massive that I would like to achieve, and ten has an unbelievable ring to it.” said the 37-year-old.
“It has always been a very successful venue for me and I have a lot of nice memories of this competition.”
However, the three-time world champion will have to overcome a strong field to retain his title, including former World No.1 and long-term rival James Willstrop, 2011 winner Daryl Selby, Chris Simpson, Declan James and a whole host of up and coming talent.
Despite the possibility of earning an unpredented tenth National title, Matthew says he isn’t dreaming of a final fairy-tale Nationals ending just yet. Matthew’s loss in the final seven years ago to Daryl Selby still motivates him against complacency to this day.
“I was No.1 in the world and I thought with the Nationals, I could turn up and get the job done.
“I have learned from that ever since and you can’t do that at all at the Nationals.
“Daryl fully deserved it on the day, but I remember there was an element of complacency that sneaked into my game.
“In a weird sort of way, that is my favourite memory from the Nationals because of the disappointment at the time.”
Despite the global success of the PSA tour which sees English athletes travel to all four corners of the globe to compete, the British Nationals still remains a much-coveted prize.
And from Nick Matthew’s perspective, this year’s tournament is one not to be missed.
“It could be the last time that you see the likes of me, James Willstrop, Daryl Selby, Laura Massaro and Alison Waters at the peak of our game before our generation goes.”
“It has been an incredibly successful generation for England squash and now it is a great opportunity to see the youngsters come and play against us.
The Wolf gets his tournament underway on Thursday 15th February at 8pm against an unseeded qualifier in the first round of the men’s draw.
Tickets are still available at www.isportstore.com
Words by Max Chesterton