SHEFFIELD’s Nick Matthew admitted to being “humbled” after he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List – even if Her Majesty got his address wrong.
The 34-year-old world No 3 was among a wealth of sporting stars to be honoured, including Wales rugby great Gareth Edwards, England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson, Manchester City midfielder Frank Lampard and record-breaking England pace bowler James Anderson.
Matthew said it was great to see the sport of squash recognised and it has to be said that the Yorkshireman has played a significant role in the growth of the sport in the UK in recent years, while at the same time establishing himself as England’s most successful squash player of all-time.
The former world No 1 has won 33 World Tour titles on the Professional Squash Association international circuit, including three World Championship titles and three British Open titles.
He is also a three-time Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist and has won a record seven British National titles.
And while Matthew was full of pride at being honoured in such a way, he actually found out over the telephone from his best friend, who lives at his old address where the notification letter had been posted out to.
“It’s incredibly special for me personally, but it’s also great to see squash recognised like this,” said Matthew.
“I think it’s a really great sign for our sport and it’s very humbling when you look at the other people on the list and you see how much they have achieved in different areas of life, especially all the people who have devoted their lives to helping others.
“The letter itself actually went to my old address, where my best mate Neil Guirey lives. He called me to say I had this very official letter and I couldn’t wait to hear what was in it, so I had to ask him to open it and read it down the phone to me.
“I think he was buzzing even more than I was. They tell you to keep everything so secret, so it’s quite funny that my letter got opened by someone else but, fortunately, Neil is very discreet!”
Keir Worth, chief executive of England Squash & Racketball said Matthew had been a phenomenal ambassador for the sport throughout his career and his OBE was fully deserved.
“Nick has always taken huge pride in representing his country both in team events and individually across the world on the professional tour,” added Worth.
“He has been a truly phenomenal ambassador and role model for our sport and we’re delighted that his outstanding achievements have been recognised by the award of an OBE.
“I’m sure Nick will continue to inspire the next generation of squash players in England.”