‘I want to come back and make it ten’
By DONNA HELMER
Nick Matthew made history by winning his ninth National title in Manchester and cemented his status as one of the greatest British squash players ever.
Three-time world champion Matthew eased through his final against underdog Joe Lee to take home the trophy for the sixth year in a row.
The former World No.1 came into the game as huge favourite against his opponent and claimed the victory with a comfortable 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 in 40 minutes.
Much of the build-up to the tournament had centred around his long rivalry with James Willstrop  but he faced an unlikely opponent in Lee [5/8], who had progressed past Willstrop in the quarter finals after the latter retired with the match at 2-2.
Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro have won a combined 13 Nationals titles.
World No.4 Matthew didn’t drop a single game in his route to claiming the trophy, defeating qualifier Ashley Davies, Jaymie Haycocks, Declan James [5/8] and Lee all 3-0. He was delighted to win his ninth title at the Blowers Jewellers National Squash Championships.
“It’s an honour to win a ninth title”, he said. “I think Joe was a little bit nervous with it being his first final. He pushed me hard in the third game, maybe I got a bit nervous. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve won a few titles, you do sometimes get a bit excited towards the end. But I’m really happy with where my game is and hopefully I can take that forward to the tour now.”
At 36, Matthew is now old enough to play in the masters at the Nationals but he continues to dominate the men’s game. He admitted facing a younger generation of players in the later rounds had been a different experience.
He said: “It was totally different this year. With Dec [James] yesterday and Joe today it made me feel my age a bit. It would be nice to get ten. Hopefully, fingers crossed, I can come back for at least one more go and get a tenth.”
Laura Massaro retained the trophy in the women’s competition to take her title haul up to four. She defeated Sarah-Jane Perry [3/4] in 42 minutes, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9.
Nick Matthew honours:
World champion: 2010, 2011, 2013.
British Open champion: 2006, 2009, 2012.
Commonwealth gold medallist: Delhi 2010 (Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles), Glasgow 2014 (Men’s Singles).
National champion: 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.
Current world ranking: 4, highest ranking 1.
Pictures courtesy of England Squash