Nick Matthew column: I’m ready for the Open after a stop start summer

Nick Matthew is looking forward to returning to the squash tour.
Nick Matthew is looking forward to returning to the squash tour.
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My first tournament of the season is the US Open this weekend after the most stop start summer in sporting history!

The squash tour started a couple of months ago and there have already been some tournaments in the Far East, USA and Mexico. I probably would have played in the Hong Kong and San Francisco events if I had been in good shape.

It’s unusual to start with such a big event as the US Open. Normally you would play in two or three tournaments before playing a big one.

You are always quite nervous until you’ve played your first event. You are never quite sure where your game is at until you get out on court and play a match.

I had a little break at the end of last season. I was three weeks into my training for the Commonwealth Games and found out I needed a knee operation. I could not do anything for a week. The op kept me out for two to threee weeks. I only got back on court a fortnight before the Games.

I was absolutely wiped out after winning Commonwealth gold in Scotland because of the nature of the competition and the stress of trying to get fit for it following the op.

After the Games, I took around three weeks off and then got back into training. I started to feel good and Esme delivered our little girl Charlotte so it’s been hard trying to get into any sort of rhythm with my training.

As an athlete, the hardest thing is that first week back after you’ve had time off. Whenever you’ve had a break and try to get back into your routine, you are tired, rusty and out of shape. Everything hurts and your body is screaming at you. Once you get through the first week, the worst is over.

The training gets harder after the first week but your body is ready for it. Usually, you will go through that first week three times a year. Once after the summer break, maybe over Christmas and another point in the year. I’ve had that first week four times!

From a personal point of view, having a baby and winning Commonwealth gold, I wouldn’t change a thing. It has been an amazing year.

From a squash point of view, I’m ready not to have that first week ever again. It’s been the hardest summer of my career in terms of trying to do my training.

Now I’m going to go back on the tour, not put too much pressure on myself and really enjoy it.