Over the last few week’s we’ve featured a number of playlists from Nick Matthew, covering both rhythm of movement and types of length. Given Nick’s presence on SquashSkills, we thought it only right that we do some research into his very successful squash career!
Born in 1980, Sheffield, England, Nick Matthew has enjoyed a prolific career since turning pro in 1998 – achieving a string of historic breakthroughs which have led the Yorkshireman to become one of the United Kingdom’s most successful squash players of all-time.
In 2006 he won his first British Open title to become the first home-grown winner of the world’s most prestigious event for 67 years. Just over a year later, he underwent career-threatening shoulder surgery – but came back stronger than ever, winning the World-famous trophy for a second time in 2009 after beating national rival James Willstrop in a 122-minute climax, the longest British Open final for more than ten years.
In June 2010, Nick topped the World rankings for the first time and in December became the first Englishman in the premier event’s 35-year history to win the PSA World Championship. The triumph took Matthew back to number one in the World rankings – a position he held throughout 2011.
“Becoming World number one is every sports person’s dream and it’s something I’ve worked towards every single day of my life since I turned professional in 1998,” said Matthew at the time.
In November 2011, Matthew successfully defended his World crown in Rotterdam – becoming the first player for 15 years to retain the title. His record-making run continued on home soil in 2012: In May, at the famous O2 Arena in London, he became the first Englishman ever to win the British Open title for a third time. Matthew marked another milestone in September 2012 when he reached the 50th PSA Tour final of his career at the British Grand Prix in Manchester – and celebrated his 25th Tour title win after beating national rival James Willstrop.
The Sheffield star’s 2013 campaign began well – with a return to the final of the ATCO PSA World Series Finals in London, where he went down to Egyptian wizard Amr Shabana for the second time in the week. It was a runner-up berth too for Matthew in February’s Swedish Open when Gregory Gaultier avenged his Queen’s Club defeat to beat the three-time former champion.
Just a month later, Matthew celebrated the 54th Tour final of his career when he defeated Gaultier in four games in the semi-finals of the North American Open in Virginia. But awaiting him was Ramy Ashour, Egypt’s new world number one who was unbeaten since losing to Matthew in the 2012 British Open final. The match lasted more than one hour, but it was Ashour who prevailed to claim his fourth successive win since the O2 Arena meeting.
Away from the Tour, Matthew claimed a further chapter in squash history in February when he extended his long winning streak over Willstrop in the British National Championship final to win a record fifth title.
In June, he celebrated his sixth successive appearance in the World Team Championship by leading England to success over favourites and defending champions Egypt in the 2013 championship in France.
To finish the year Nick married GB cycling team physiologist Esme, in November went on to achieve a momentous third World Championship title on home soil in Manchester, England when he defeated Gregory Gaultier 3/2 in the final and to top the year off was voted PSA Player of the Year 2013.
2014 proved to be huge year for Matthew on and off the court. He won a record sixth British National Championship in February before winning on home soil once more at the Canary Wharf Classic in London.
After winning the Grand Slam Cup in May, Nick headed home once more to reach the British Open finals for the fourth time in his career, ending the tournament as runner-up to his long-time rival Gaultier.
Just as Matthew began preparing to represent England in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, he sustained a knee injury in training and found himself in a race against time to be fit to compete in Glasgow. Despite that misfortune, Nick declared himself ready to play and proudly carried the Commonwealth Games baton through his home town of Sheffield before being named as official flag bearer for Team England at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.
The Games proved to be a triumph against the odds, with Nick taking Gold in singles with a memorable win in an all-England final against James Willstrop before teaming up with Adrian Grant to bring England a Silver medal in doubles.
There was cause for celebration away from squash too when Matthew and his wife Esme welcomed the birth of their first child Charlotte Rose in on 9th September 2014.
After a break from competition, Matthew reached the semi-finals of the US Open in Philadelphia and Men’s World Championship Doha in October and November respectively, but finished the year on a high with a win in the final of the AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix in December.
The previous year’s high continued in to 2015 with a runner-up position in the Tournament of Champions in January continued in great form in February winning his fifth Swedish Open title and seventh British National title in the space of ten days. March faired just as well with two more titles in the Windy City Open in the us where Nick became the oldest ever winner of a PSA World Series event and a fifth Canary Wharf Classic title back on home turf in London.
It took World No.1 Egyptian Mohamed Elshorbagy to stop Matthew in his tracks in both the semi-final of the El Gouna international in April and the Allam British Open in May.
In June 2015 the three-time PSA Men’s World Champion was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen of England in her Birthday Honours List for his services to the sport of squash.
A well-earned rest is due for a couple for months before Nick visits Massachusetts to conduct some training camps prior to resuming his own summer training back in Manchester in August.
Nick’s most recent achievement came back in in February of 2016, when he won a record 8th British National Championship title in a men’s record 9th final.
Nick’s career highlights list is slightly impressive…
3 time World Champion (2010, 2011 & 2013), Commonwealth Games Double Gold Medalist 2010 & 2014, 3 time British Open Champion (2006, 2009 & 2012) & 7 time British National Champion (2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015), in June 2015 Nick was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by her Majesty the Queen – an amazing accolade which recognises not only his many achievements on court which has seen him become the most successful English player of all time but also his off-court charitable activities.
On a personal note, Nick’s interests are following Sheffield Wednesday, films, music and being a good dad!
If there’s anything that you think we’ve missed from the blog please let us know!
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