Matthew targets home county success

Matthew targets home county success

SH13863Three-time British Open winner Nick Matthew has set his sights on winning the ‘Wimbledon of squash’ in his home county before he hangs up his racket.

The 34-year-old Yorkshireman has achieved many landmarks in his glorious career, but an Open victory at Hull’s Airco Arena would be something special.

“It’s a big goal of mine before I retire,” said the 2006, 2009 and 2012 champion. “It’s something I’m planning my schedule around so that I arrive in peak shape.”

Sheffield-based Matthew has the advantage of not living far from the venue, but he will be up against the leading players in the world from May 11 to 17.

SH13864“About a month beforehand you start to see which players will be there, but it’s fair to say the top four or five in the rankings are going to be the favourites,” he said.

“Mohamed Elshorbagy has the added incentive that he hasn’t won the British Open and Ramy Ashour will be coming back from injury.

“Then there is Gregory Gaultier (the defending champion), James Willstrop will be coming back to form and Amr Shabana has never won it despite the number of titles he has won.

“It’s a nice dynamic for the tournament and it’s great it’s coming back to Yorkshire.”

SH13567Matthew is therefore delighted that Dr Assem Allam recently agreed a new three-year deal to keep the sport’s oldest professional tournament in Hull.

“Dr Allam has put a lot of work into the sport, for which squash is grateful,” he said.

“He’s very passionate about the sport – all generations of his family play it, including his grandchildren – and you can already see the legacy of the tournament, with kids in the area taking up the game, which is really great.”

The Allam British Open takes place at The Airco Arena, Hull from 11-17 May and tickets are available now, starting from just £10

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