Content Matthew braced for ‘gruelling’ regime

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WORLD number two Nick Matthew is satisfied with his start to the season ahead of a “gruelling” month of training on home soil.

The double Commonwealth Games gold medallist claimed the British Grand Prix title in Manchester before flying out to the US.

The 32-year-old bowed out of the US Open, the first major of the year, at the semi-final stage following a four-game defeat to arch rival Ramy Ashour, and the Sheffield star was then runner-up in the NetSuite Open in San Francisco, losing to third seed Gregory Gaultier.

But despite failing to conquer America, Matthew is upbeat about his chances of retaining his world crown.

He is aiming to lift the prestigious title, which takes place in Qatar at the start of December, for a third successive year - only three other players; Geoff Hunt (Australia), Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan (both Pakistan) have achieved this feat.

“I would have loved to have won one of the events in America but the target for me has always been the worlds,” Matthew told The Star.

“It has been the worlds I have looked to peak for ever since the summer.

“The American tournaments will stand me in good stead. I have got a tough, gruelling month of training ahead of me now. I don’t think people will be seeing much of me in the bars on Eccleshall Road over the next month that’s for sure! I will be having a lot of early nights and early starts. The world title is my goal.”

Matthew’s next event is the Hong Kong Open, which begins on November 25, and the number two seed faces German Simon Rosner in the first round. On the opposite side of the draw, James Willstrop, the world No 1 and defending champion, takes on fellow Englishman Adrian Grant.

The Open has been chosen as the inspection event for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to determine which of the sports shortlisted should claim a place on the programme for the 2020 Olympiad.