Matthew ready for
World Championship Challenge
Defending World Champion Nick Matthew says he is looking
forward to beginning the defence of his title when the 2014
Qatar PSA World Championship gets underway in Doha, Qatar next
33-year-old from Sheffield, who claimed his third world crown in
front of a partisan home crowd in Manchester last November, goes
into the 2014 tournament under the radar after falling to No.3
in the World Rankings behind Egyptian powerhouse Mohamed
Elshorbagy and Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the man he
beat to glory last year.
But the resilient Matthew, known on tour as 'The Wolf', says he
is happy to be considered the underdog ahead of the most
prestigious tournament in the squash calendar.
"The World Championship is the reason you play," said
Matthew. "Everything else takes a back seat when you look at the
calendar at the start of the year - this is the one that
year you try and peak for the worlds but this year, with the
Commonwealth Games and arrival of our first child, preparation
hasn't been as fine tuned as perhaps last year but in the last
few weeks I've started to feel that things are coming together.
"There's no pressure on me though - I'm old enough now to be
past the stage where I put unnecessary pressure on myself and I
know that you can't win every tournament.
"I know that if I never win again I can look back and be happy
with my career but that said, if I'm in my best form in Doha
next week and do myself justice, then I know I can be
challenging in the latter stages and I'm really looking forward
Having made history by becoming the first man to win
back-to-back Commonwealth Games Gold Medals in Glasgow this
summer, followed shortly after by the birth of his first child,
Charlotte, 2014 has been a year to savour for Matthew so far but
he knows he will have his work cut out to cap it all off with a
fourth World Championship triumph.
Elshorbagy, the Bristol-based Egyptian, has been is sublime form
so far this season, winning his last four consecutive
tournaments and recording impressive victories over Gaultier in
the process, and Matthew says he's the man everyone else has to
beat in the heat of the Middle East.
"Mohamed has been the hunter throughout his career so far but
now he's become the hunted," he said.
how you react to that challenge and that position that
determines a lot and I remember that when I got to number one
for the first time it was quite tough. I think I dealt with it
better second time around but to be No.1 at his age is pretty
"Doha is also a venue that he enjoys and it's a pretty difficult
place for western players to go to and win because it's sort of
a home venue for the Egyptians - they get a lot of vocal support
there and I remember the 2012 final between Ramy (Ashour) and
Mohamed was a crazy atmosphere.
"There's a new court though this year and that could change the
dynamic of the competition. Mohamed especially has said before
that he would have taken the old court to any tournament in the
world as he like it that much so that might have a bearing on
what happens next week.
"Either way, I’m really looking forward to it."
The 2014 Qatar PSA
World Championship takes place at the Khalifa Tennis and
Squash Complex, Doha, Qatar from Thursday November 13th to
Friday November 21st with Matthew beginning his campaign on
Saturday November 15th against a qualifier.