SHEFFIELD’S Nick Matthew will finally set foot back on a squash court today – for the first time in almost a week since becoming a three-time world champion in Manchester.
The 33-year-old saw off a dramatic fightback from Gregory Gaultier to lift the coveted crown for a third time in front of a home crowd at Manchester Central, prompting a flurry of appearances on national TV and radio and other media.
It meant a hectic week for Matthew, ahead of him flying out to Doha for this week’s Qatar Masters, where he begins his bid to repeat the triumph he enjoyed there in 2010 with a first-round encounter against former England team-mate Alister Walker on Monday.
“It’s been a bit of a mad week to be honest,” said Matthew. “I’ve probably been as high as that in terms of winning before, but I think the fact that it was in the UK, in front of friends and family just made it all the more special.
“The coverage post-event has been fantastic for the sport as well. I’ve been able to get down to the gym a couple of times to work out and do some physio, but I haven’t actually been on court since last Sunday.
“I’ll be going on court on Saturday for some practice – I’m sure I’ll remember how to hit a squash ball!”
Not surprisingly, world No 1 Ashour announced earlier this week that he would not compete in Doha, a result of the hamstring injury he suffered in last week’s semi-final in Manchester against Matthew, which allowed the Yorkshireman to progress to the final.
That has pushed Matthew’s fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop up to second seed in the top half of the draw, with the 30-year-old from Pontefract getting his bid to add a second title to the one he won back in 2005 underway tomorrow with a first-round encounter against Abdulla Al Tamimi.