24 April 2013
From HOWARD HARDING
England’s Nick Matthew says winning the PSA World Squash Championship in November on home soil would be a perfect way to sign off his career.
Speaking at a press conference today at Manchester Central, Matthew isn’t planning to hang up his racket just yet – but the former world number one admits he won’t get too many more shots at the game’s biggest titles.
And he knows he will be long retired by 2020 if squash should find itself on the programme of the Olympic Games for the first time.
So the 32-year-old from Sheffield is steeling himself for a major assault on what would be a third world crown – a record for an Englishman.
“This will be the last time in my career I will have a home world championship that I can look to win and have the best support behind me,” said Yorkshireman Matthew.
“It will be the pinnacle of my career if I win the title; it would be the perfect way to sign off.”
The 2013 PSA World Championship will take place in the city of Manchester from 26 October to 3 November.
Nick Rider, Chief Executive of England Squash & Racketball, explains: “It’s fantastic that the 2013 PSA Men’s World Squash Championship will be held at the heart of such a great British city. The venue will hold spectator seating a full 360 degrees around the all-glass show court, allowing squash and sport fans a truly spectacular view.
“I’d particularly encourage anyone who hasn’t attended a major squash event to come and see what our wonderful sport and world-class athletes have to offer. It will be truly enthralling.”
The early signs are that Matthew and his fellow Brits will be backed by a partisan home crowd during the World Squash Championship at the National Squash Centre and in the final stages at Manchester Central. Event organisers are already reporting pre-launch ticket sales in the first week of nearly £20,000 or 20 percent of all potential ticket sales.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester is delighted to once again welcome the world’s best squash talent to the city. As the home of England Squash and Racketball, we’re extremely proud to be hosting the PSA World Squash Championship.
“Tickets are already selling fast for what is sure to be a tense and enthralling competition. The city has an enviable track record for hosting both national and international sporting events which have showcased our world-class facilities and helped inspire local residents to become more involved with sport.”
Simon Morton, UK Sport Director of Major Events and Public Relations, added: “UK Sport is thrilled to be supporting the PSA Men’s World Squash Championship this year in Manchester. Having supported the hugely successful 2008 Men’s and Women’s World Open in Manchester, we know the city will be an excellent host to all those who attend this autumn.
“As part of the UK Sport Gold Event Series, we will be showcasing the PSA Men’s World Squash Championship in the centre of the city at Manchester Central, a venue that will enable us to provide a truly unique spectator and TV experience for the sport.”
Lee Beachill, COO of the Professional Squash Association, said: “We are thrilled with the way preparations are going for this year’s PSA World Championship and I am sure this event will exceed all our expectations. Early ticket sales indicate that this is the most eagerly anticipated event of the year and with the top 64 players in the world battling it out for the greatest prize it is certainly an event not to be missed.
“The City of Manchester has a great reputation for hosting spectacular events and this year will see the first squash event in Manchester Central bringing our fantastic sport to the heart of the city.”
Nick Matthew hopes – as does the global squash community – the sport achieves Olympic status later this year. The British number one is confident there is good news coming. “The sport appears to be enjoying a surge in popularity which is down to the hard work of a lot of different people.
“Hopefully, the Worlds can come at a moment squash gets that conclusion to its Olympic bid.
“London 2012 was a big low to the sport because it rammed home we weren’t an Olympic sport – but in a funny way it gave our bid momentum because I think many people just assumed squash was already in the Games. So, there was a momentum built up from people wanting to see a sport like squash in the Olympics.
“As I said, I believe the sport is on the crest of a wave and hopefully we can carry on with the momentum at the British Open next month and then the Worlds in October.”
Picture shows Nick Matthew outside Manchester Central with youngsters from the East Manchester Academy, near the National Squash Centre