Getting up close with Nick Matthew on the glass court is a major milestone for wild card Eddie Charlton
By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor
Eddie Charlton will be making his glass-court debut at Canary Wharf on Monday night, having been drawn out of the hat to play top seed Nick Matthew, an occasional training partner.
11 POINTS WITH EDDIE CHARLTON
INTERVIEW BY ALAN THATCHER
1: Eddie, it’s great to see you in the Main Draw as this year’s Wild Card at Canary Wharf. How much do moments like this mean in your career?
A: Canary Wharf is a tournament I’ve played for a few years now and I haven’t made it on to the glass court yet so to get the wildcard this year is great. I’m extremely grateful to Tim and his team for giving me this opportunity and can’t wait to play in such an iconic venue.
2: You have been drawn against top seed Nick Matthew in the first round on the opening night. How do you feel about that massive challenge?
A: Playing Nick is obviously tough. He’s been one of the best players in the world for quite a few years now and is renowned for his physicality on court. I played him in last years’ US open and that was a great experience. With Nick any points/games you get you really have to earn, he gives you nothing easy.
3: You often train with Nick. What are the main things you have learned from watching a three-time world champion at close quarters?
A: It’s not rocket science. His attention to detail is exceptional and pair that with his work ethic and you start to see why he’s achieved what he’s achieved. He’s the best volleyer in the game and he works in combinations that trap you into hitting to his strength areas (which I’ll be trying to keep clear of!).
4: Nick tells me you share the same physical trainer. I’ve seen some YouTube clips of Nick doing some pretty brutal sessions. So, who’s king of the gym – you or Nick?
A: I’d love to say it’s me but unfortunately in most areas it’s him. Our sessions share similar exercises and on the odd occasion we’ve done sessions together I can hold my own, but his endurance is something else.
5: Who are your coaches and regular training partners, other than Nick?
A: Coaching wise I work with Camps (David Campion) and Neil Guirey as often as I can. My training partners are Mark Fuller, Shaun Le Roux, Joel Hinds, Chris Simpson, Emma Beddoes and a couple of club players at Chapel Allerton, which is where I’m based.
6: In the recent National Championships, you won an 83-minute battle with your Nottingham mate Mark Fuller and then met Daryl Selby in the second round. How close do you feel you are getting to the top guys?
A: The Nationals were frustrating for me, I played well in patches in my first round and going in to my match with Daryl I felt like I had a chance and put pressure on myself to perform, which you don’t need to against someone of Daryl’s calibre. It’s definitely something I’m trying to learn from and improve on for future.
7: What would you say are the best results of your career so far?
A: Winning my first PSA title was a great feeling. I’d been in quite a few finals so to finally get over the finish line was a relief. PSA wise I haven’t beaten as many top 30/20 players as I’d like. I’ve had some good performances in other events/leagues but that’s not where I want to be producing my best squash. Beating Hisham Ashour on PSA although he wasn’t at his peak was a satisfying result at the time (especially given I wasn’t sure where the ball was going half the time!).
8: Which are your favourite tournaments, and why?
A: There are so many great PSA events on the calendar now that it’s hard to pick one over another. Other than Canary Wharf 🙂 my favourite three in no particular order are; The Nash Cup, Detroit Motor City Open and TOC. The Nash Cup and Detroit are both similar in that you’re made to feel extremely welcome whether you’re the No.1 seed or the last man in qualifying and the crowds are great from Day 1. The TOC in Grand Central is a great spectacle for squash and while I’ve never played on the glass court there the whole atmosphere around the event is extremely unique.
9: As a self-employed athlete, how tough is it to make a living in squash outside the top 30 in the world?
A: Squash isn’t a sport anyone gets into with money as their main motivation. Financially, playing squash professionally isn’t easy and while it can become very easy to chase money playing exhibition-type events and coaching, which takes away from your focus on your own career. I’ve been extremely lucky to have a couple of people around me happy to support me in my career and to them I’m extremely grateful.
10: Who are your main sponsors?
A: My current Sponsors are Mantis, Air IT and MB Nottingham. Mantis supply my rackets and they have been supportive of me for some time now. They provide me with great rackets and allow me some input into the rackets’ make-up, weight, colour etc. AirIT are an IT support company based in Nottingham, who I represent with logos on my playing kit. They also support Nottingham’s PSL team. MB Nottingham is an independent Mercedes dealership/service centre and they sponsor my car as well as my playing kit. I’m extremely grateful for all the support I receive from my sponsors and they make playing squash professionally a much more enjoyable experience.
11: Any special tactics for Canary Wharf, or are you keeping them a secret?
A: Definitely a secret! However I can’t wait to play on the Canary Wharf stage and I’ll have to bring my best squash to compete with a player like Nick. I have a huge amount of respect for what he’s achieved as a squash player but that won’t affect me on the court, I’m looking to try to get closer to the top guys and what better place to get a big win than Canary Wharf?
Pictures from Squash Mad archive