Rest period appeals to Matthew after Classic bid

Nick Matthew hopes to enter a short break from the world tour by winning the Canaray Wharf Classic.
Nick Matthew hopes to enter a short break from the world tour by winning the Canaray Wharf Classic.
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NICK MATTHEW admits he will be glad to get some rest after this week’s Canary Wharf Classic – but only once he has enjoyed a successful few days in London.

The world No 1, from Sheffield, has had a hectic start to 2014, playing in five major tournaments and winning two titles – the Swedish Open for a fourth time and the British National Championships in Manchester for a record sixth time.

His most recent performances were across the other side of the Atlantic earlier this week where he reached the semi-finals of the World Series Finals in Virginia, losing to Egypt’s Mohamed Elshorbagy in a five-game, 90-minute marathon.

Should three-time winner Matthew reach the final at the East Wintergarden venue on Friday, it will have meant another hectic spell of four games in five days – starting with Monday’s first-round opener against Scotland’s Alan Clyne.

Such tests of endurance are commonplace for professional squash players, although 33-year-old Matthew - now recovered from an injury sustained at the recent Windy City Open in Chicago - will gladly take the opportunity of some downtime after this week, his decision to avoid the El Gouna International in Egypt meaning his next major event will be the Allam British Open, back in Hull for a second successive year in May.

“I don’t feel as if I hit top gear in Richmond,” said Matthew regarding his recent trip to the USA.

“But I’ve had some good highs already this year and maybe the level of expectation I place on myself is too high – I possibly put too much pressure on myself.

“I suppose with the injury I had in Chicago I wasn’t going to hit top form just yet. I probably won’t hit that until I’ve had a bit of a rest, and I’ll be able to do that after this week.

“I’m looking forward to it to be honest – but only after I’ve had a good week at Canary Wharf.”

Pontefract’s James Willstrop is the second seed but, as ever, there is potential for upset, with fellow Englishmen Peter Barker and Daryl Selby also in action.

Situated in the lower half of the draw, Willstrop – who has won the event four times and arrives in London as the defending champion – won’t play his first round match until Tuesday, his opponent only known once this weekend’s qualifying rounds are completed.