‘I don’t know how many more times I will play in front of my home crowd’
By NATHAN CLARKE
Three-time World Champion Nick Matthew will return to Manchester this December for the 2016 AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix in what he admits could be one of his last events in front of a home crowd.
The 36-year-old has been a stalwart at the top of the PSA World Rankings for the past decade but has seen his playing time on Tour over the past 18 months hampered by injury. But, having claimed the British Grand Prix title on three occasions, he says he’s looking forward to returning to his ‘second home’ at the National Squash Centre from December 2-5.
“It’s always a fantastic feeling to play in Manchester – it’s a city that is so close to home and somewhere where I’ve had such great success,” said Matthew.
“At this stage of my career it has dawned on me that I don’t know how many more times I will have the privilege of playing in front of my home crowd so I am determined to soak it up and cherish every moment of the event with a crowd that is very knowledgeable and always incredibly supportive of me.
“I think you also come to value and appreciate home tournaments more than ever because you know it means no airports, no jet lag, all the home comforts and being able to spend time with your family. So I am hoping to make the most of all these in December.”
Matthew lost out to World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in the title-decider last season, one of three runner-up finishes he has accumulated at the event, and is likely to face stellar competition from a strong international field again his year, with the entire player line up.
“The AJ Bell British Grand Prix is a really important tournament for me,” added Matthew.
“I have a great feeling when I walk in to the venue there and it is a well-run tournament catering to all the needs of the players. It is also live on BT Sport in the UK, which gives the sport great exposure to a wider audience as well.”
Tickets for the AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix – Manchester 2016 can be booked online at www.isportstore.com, by telephone on 0844 8797 949 or for more information email [email protected]