Sheffield squash star awarded his OBE

Mr Nicholas Matthew from Sheffield is made an OBE by the Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Mr Nicholas Matthew from Sheffield is made an OBE by the Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
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Sheffield squash star Nick Matthew traded in his kit for a smart suit when he received his OBE at Buckingham Palace.

Nick, currently ranked second in the world, was named on the Queen’s birthday honours list for services to the sport.

The most successful British squash player of all time has won both the British Open and the World Open three times each.

Known on court as ‘The Wolf,’ Nick’s long list of accomplishments also include seven British national championships, three gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and 33 titles on the world tour.

He said: “It goes without saying it’s a massive honour for me personally but it’s also great to see squash recognised. The ceremony will certainly be something I’ll never forget.”

The Queen’s official letter was posted earlier in the summer to an old address. His best friend Neil now lives at the property and delivered the news over the phone.

Nick said: “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!”

The star hopes to share the honour with his wife, sports physiologist Esme Taylor, and their one-year-old daughter, Charlotte.

He said: “Hopefully, when my daughter is old enough, she will be proud of her dad getting this award. It’s something tangible that she can see to show what her dad did in squash.”

Nick also hopes to give back to the sport and joked about championing the cause on his visit to the palace to receive his OBE from Princess Anne.

He said: “Maybe I should ask them if they can make squash an Olympic sport?”

Keir Worth, chief executive of England Squash and Racketball said: “He has been a truly phenomenal ambassador and role model for our sport and we’re delighted that his outstanding achievements have been recognised. I’m sure Nick will continue to inspire the next generation of squash players in England.”

Nick, who regularly writes for The Star as a sports columnist, began playing squash at the age of eight. A decade later, he finished his A Levels at High Storrs school in Bents Green and went pro in 1998.

At 35, Nick has contemplated retirement after a knee injury in July. But he decided to push on and will compete in the US Open in Philadelphia, which starts tomorrow.

n Nick Matthew column: P34