NICK MATTHEW knows that time is not on his side, but he is certainly determined to make the most of life at the top of his sport.
That’s why the 34-year-old three-time world champion and former world No 1 was able to accept defeat in the Tournament of Champions in New York so philosophically at the weekend.
The Yorkshireman went down 3-1 to current world No 1 Mohamed Elshorbagy at New York’s Grand Central Terminal, but admitted he was still glad to be part of the occasion.
Make no mistake, defeat will still have hurt the Sheffield-born athlete plenty but, as one of the oldest members on the PSA World Tour, he seems to cut a more relaxed figure these days.
“I really enjoyed the match,” said Matthew after his defeat.
“You get to a stage in your career when you just have to enjoy the experience because you might not have many more of them.”
Matthew, who won the event in 2012, actually started the final stronger by taking the opening game and, after Elshorbagy hit back to take a 2-1 lead, the third seed looked on course to draw level when 9-7 ahead in the fourth.
But his Bristol-based Egyptian opponent rallied and, despite Matthew saving one match point, he couldn’t prevent a 5-11, 11-9, 11-8, 12-10 defeat after 83 absorbing minutes.
“I told Nick at the end of the match that he is an inspirational player,” said Elshorbagy, whose triumph completed a memorable night for Egyptian squash in the Big Apple, with Raneem El Welily also taking the women’s title with victory over Matthew’s compatriot Alison Waters.
“He’s the king when it comes to playing tough matches because he seems to come back fresh.”