‘We want to entertain the crowd and then enjoy the legendary Canary Wharf hospitality’ says six-times champion Nick
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
A major squash rivalry will be rekindled when Nick Matthew meets Gregory Gaultier in a Dunlop Legends Challenge on Finals Night at the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Squash Classic.
The two former world champions will take to the court before the final on Friday March 18 before a sellout crowd at Canary Wharf’s spectacular East Wintergarden venue.
They faced each other in the Canary Wharf Classic final in 2010 when Matthew triumphed 12-10, 6-11, 13-11, 11-3 in 69 minutes of intense, physical squash.
It was Matthew’s first Canary Wharf title and he went on to win the event six times, overtaking four-times winner James Willstrop in the process.
Nick’s last Canary Wharf final triumph was against Fares Dessouky in 2017 when he kindly donated his £9,000-plus prize money towards urgent medical treatment for young Sussex junior Sumner Malik, who later died of an incurable brain tumour.
That 2010 clash was Gaultier’s only appearance in a Canary Wharf final, and Matthew’s victory tasted even sweeter after an epic semi-final battle with fellow Yorkshireman Willstrop the previous night lasting 127 minutes!
The appearance of Matthew and Gaultier at Canary Wharf will herald the relaunch of the Dunlop Squash Roadshow programme, which was postponed during lockdown.
Matthew is delighted to be spearheading the project as Dunlop, the biggest and most historic brand in squash, seek to revive the sport after such a long period of lockdown.
The Sheffield-based Matthew said: “Canary Wharf is the ideal venue to restart the Dunlop Roadshows that we were doing before lockdown. We reincarnated the idea as a Jonah Barrington-style Roadshow with myself leading it and obviously that is a massive honour for me to be able to do that.
“In terms of the Dunlop Legends Challenge match, I am really looking forward to once again savouring the special atmosphere of finals night at Canary Wharf.
“Along with the Tournament of Champions finals night in New York, Canary Wharf has that unbelievable buzz to it. I enjoyed getting on court with Ramy Ashour at the Grand Central Terminal in New York when Ramy tried out his new scoring system, and I was part of Canary Wharf finals night in November. This time I’m looking forward to being part of it again but actually on the court this time.
“Hopefully we will put on a great show for the crowd. I know both of us are still in good shape and can still put up a good show. I am really excited to showcase ourselves and the Dunlop brand, relaunch the Roadshow and have a bit of fun with the crowd.
“Dunlop have some exciting plans to take the Roadshow round some key clubs across the UK and I’m looking forward to those events helping to build the game back up.
“Obviously I played at Canary Wharf a lot more times than Greg did but I remember us having a couple of really good battles on that court and it will be fun to have one last one for the crowd!
“We will of course enjoy the legendary Canary Wharf hospitality after the match as well which is a big part of the whole occasion!”
Gregory Gaultier added: “I’m delighted to come back to Canary Wharf and play Nick for the Dunlop Legends Challenge match. We both have been representing Dunlop for 20-plus years and it’s great to keep involved with the brand that supported us over the years.
“I have been keeping in shape, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again in London and playing in that beautiful venue.”
Steve Heatley, Category Manager for Dunlop Squash added: “What a fantastic opportunity to watch two legends of the Dunlop brand, and our great sport, get back on court at Canary Wharf.
“Nick and Greg were both World Champions, World Number Ones and down the years both players played some great matches at Canary Wharf, one of the leading venues for International Squash.
“As Dunlop Ambassadors, Nick and Greg are still heavily involved with the brand and I’m sure their rivalry will re-ignite and they will put on a great show.”
About Dunlop Sports
Dunlop is owned by Sumitomo Rubber Industries and has its headquarters in Kobe, Japan. Dunlop has a legendary history in the sport of squash and is the Official Equipment Partner of the PSA World Tour.
Current Dunlop players on the tour include Ali Farag, Sarah Jane Perry, Diego Elias, Tinne Gilis, Sabrina Sobhy, Eain Yow NG, Millie Tomlinson amongst many more.
Dunlop legends and former world No.1’s Nick Matthew and Greg Gaultier are also Ambassadors for the brand.
Learn more at www.dunlopsports.com
About Sumitomo Rubber Industries
Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) was founded in 1909 in Kobe, Japan, and employs over 37,000 people across the world and has sales revenue of around $8 billion.
SRI acquired the global rights to the Dunlop brand in April 2017 and owns fellow sports brands Srixon, Cleveland Golf and XXIO. SRI specialises in the tyre industry but also in providing rubber-based products for many other industries such as medical, construction, marine, sports facilities etc.
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour, Steve Line (www.squashpics.com) and Artyom Liss