The B I G Canary Wharf
#5: 11 POINTS WITH NICK MATTHEW
The defending champion talks to ALAN
as he launches his bid for a hat-trick of Canary Wharf titles
You came back strongly after your injury to win the ToC in
New York. That must have been a great feeling to get
everything back in working order so soon.
That was an amazing feeling and totally unexpected straight
after the injury. I can surprise myself with how stubborn I can
be at times.
2: For some reason you seemed to be struggling to
hit the same level in the North American Open. What did you
put that down to?
To be disappointed ďOnlyĒ to reach the semis shows how far I
have come and in hindsight I canít be too disappointed. You
canít expect to play your best squash every week but youíre
right, I didnít play as well as in New York or the Nationals so
I will look to put that right this week.
3: After losing to Ramy Ashour in the NAO semi-finals,
you said you needed to go away and work on a few things.
How has that gone?
We will see next time I play Ramy! No, seriously, it has been
nice to have had a few weeks to put a bit of groundwork in
I have found over the years I donít play my best when you from
tournament to tournament. I tend to play better when I get a few
weeks at home to see my team and prepare properly.
4: How have you balanced your time between rest and
training? I noticed you were doing some speed work last week.
What sort of routines do you do for that?
Basically itís an intense session and involves a lot of
sprints and shuttles with very little rest. If itís an out and
out speed one, I have a lot more rest between sets and include
more plyometrics and skipping work.
When you get into your 30s you realise the benefit of rest and
training, but itís a hard balance to master, as your needs are
never the same two weeks in a row.
5: This year you are bidding for a Canary Wharf
hat-trick. What are your thoughts on the tournament.
I love the atmosphere in the East Wintergarden. It feels
like the home of squash in London now in a way. I truly think it
is that established now. Tim, Peter and the whole team deserve a
great deal of credit.
6: The crowds at Canary Wharf always get behind
the English players in vocal fashion. That must be a real bonus
knowing you can count on that support.
Definitely! The crowds are brilliant, especially on the
Thursday and Friday nights, although I tend to have a habit of
meeting a few of the London guys who rightly so have more
support than me!
7: Winning the World Open two years in a row
was a phenomenal achievement. Looking back, what are the things
you remember the most from the two finals against James
Willstrop and Gregory Gaultier?
Being more nervous than normal beforehand, but in a good
way, starting out second best then getting in to some sort of
mental zone where there was no way I was going to lose either
match even if they went on for ever!
8: We can't avoid the question of your rivalry with
James. Have you read his book yet?
No I havenít but I have heard a few things about it, both
good and bad.
9: You were very sporting with your remarks about James
producing a tactical master-class to beat Ramy Ashour in
the NAO final. Will you need to produce your own tactical
master-class to beat him should you meet in the Canary Wharf
James was unbelievable in that final. If he had been 1% below
that level then Ramy might have sniffed an opening but James was
relentless with his accuracy on that day. He has played
consistently to this level over the past few months and deserves
to be number one.
10: The showcourt at your home club, Hallamshire,
is being rebuilt and named after you. How's the building work
going, and when is the court due to be opened?
Things are buzzing in anticipation of it all being finished
and we are due to have a grand opening night on June 16th. The
likes of Peter Barker, Adrian Grant and Daryl Selby have kindly
donated their time so it should be a great night.
11: Can you suggest a fantastic idea to promote the
game ahead of the vote to include squash in the 2020
In this country I think it would be unbelievable if we could
manage a series of Head To Head matches with myself and James
around the country in shopping malls and iconic venues. I think
people would really get behind the rivalry but it might be hard
to get off the ground.
Nick, Iím on it, and I hope we can get that set up over the
summer months so that we can get those matches on TV to raise
the profile of the sport ahead of the IOC vote.
Many thanks for taking part in the interview and good luck this
week at Canary Wharf.