You start appreciating the wins a little more as you get older.
I always want to do well on home soil and it’s great to go into the Christmas break on the back of winning the British Grand Prix. It meant a lot to me to win the event as it was the first tournament where I’ve had my wife Esme and daughter Charlotte by my side throughout. It was nice to spend time with them and switch off after playing my matches.
We had adjoining rooms in our hotel. Unfortunately for Esme, I could close the door and if Charlotte was crying during the night, I was blissfully unaware because I was in the next room! I was hoping it would become a permanent living arrangement but I’m not sure that will go down too well with Esme!
I don’t know why but I always seem to perform well in Manchester. I’m so comfortable there and I think I’ve had more success on the main court than anywhere else in my whole career. I wish I could take that court, the spectators and whole environment with me around the world.
I always knew I was going to feel physically fine after my tough semi-final with top seed Gregory Gaultier because of the training I’ve done. I train so hard to back up those sort of matches.
I had to guard against complacency in the final. It would have been quite easy to have thought the job was done after beating Greg but I had to keep my focus. I knew the first game was crucial in the final against Mathieu Castagnet. I knew I had to impose my game and take his confidence away from him. Once I got that first game under my belt, I played really well.
The key thing is I have rediscovered the winning formula and I need to bottle that now and take it forward into next year. I’ve got momentum but I need to get the balance right over Christmas. My trainer is making me go to the gym three or four times and go swimming this week so I don’t totally stop. It’s all about trying to get the balance between rest and play.
After the final, I watched the FA Cup third round draw with Simon and Scott McCabe and some friends of Hull City owner Assem Allam. They had hoped Sheffield United and Hull would get kinder ties than QPR and Arsenal respectively. I trumped them all when I said Sheffield Wednesday got paired with Manchester City who beat us 7-0 last time out! I want to go the game next year and hopefully some of my Manchester magic will rub off on the Owls!