|World champion wants
World Open champion Nick Matthew is advocating a
revolutionary tournament system which would replicate the FA
Cup's format in British football.
Matthew would like an event in which names are drawn out of the
hat after every round, something which has never been seen in
squash before, nor in any racket sport.
The Englishman’s belief is that this would create an event so
refreshingly different for players, it might attract extra media
attention as well.
“It could be the one tournament a year where you have a proper
cup competition, and do the whole thing,” said Matthew, even
though the idea might work against his own interests.
remarks from the sport’s leading player were made on the
occasion of a redraw of quarter-final survivors. The radical new
step was being taken for the first time to add fresh interest to
a sport needing to heighten its media profile as a boost to its
chances of earning an Olympic place in 2013.
“I can see the thinking behind it,” said Matthew. “I can also
see the view that I and Greg (Gaultier, the former world number
one from France) might take.
if they were going to do try this system they could have had it
from the first round. They are doing it for the top eight and
they should have done it from the first round.”
His own vested interests and those of other leading players such
as Gaultier militate against such a change because it removes
the protection which a seeding system provides against early
But Matthew had an answer to this. “You could have a rule that
you don’t have to earn (or lose) ranking points from this
particular event if you don’t want to.”
The risks created for the top four players were immediately
illustrated when Matthew was drawn to play a quarter-final
against the tournament’s second-seeded player, Karim Darwish,
the former world number one from Egypt.
He responded by mimicking his own fury, posing for photographs
with his hands around his opponent's throat, while Darwish
threatened mock retaliation.
Meanwhile Matthew’s compatriot, Peter Barker, a member of
the 2007 world title winning team, was in no doubt that the
experimental system helped players just below the top group.
”I think it’s great,” Barker said. “It would give an opportunity
for lower ranked players to get into the later stages which they
wouldn’t normally get because they have to beat three or four
seeds above them.
“I am ranked seven in the world. This year I have played some
quarter-finals but have played Nick and James (Willstrop) a few
times, plus Ramy (Ashour, the PSA Tour’s player of the year)
“This way I might have more of an opportunity to have someone
other than that,” he said - before learning how the draw had
treated him. It gave him Willstrop, winner of last week’s World
Series event in Hong Kong, yet again.
The other quarter-finals see Gaultier meet Stewart Boswell, the
15th seeded Australian, and Laurens-Jan Anjema, the Dutch number
one, face Mohamed El Shorbagy, the former world junior champion