People measure success in many different ways.
Although I lost to Mohamed Elshorbagy in the semi-finals of the World Championships, it was a really successful tournament for me, given that my preparations were far from ideal. I would have needed to have played in a couple more events to have challenged the top guys more.
I believe I am improving and that my game is going in the right direction. I am enjoying playing and still feel competitive at the highest level.
There were mentally a few things I could have done better against Mohamed but he is 23 and the number one player in the world at the moment. I’m not overly disappointed to lose to someone who is in their prime.
There were some words exchanged between Mohamed and I before the tournament. He got quite vocal, accusing me of being past my peak and then said I would need to sit down in the semi-final and rest in between games due to the pace he would play at.
My first reaction was it’s quite good for squash and we need a lot more of that. I famously had a match in the British Open with James Wilstrop in 2009 and that got people talking because of the sledging on court. That got a lot more people following squash. People want to see that rivalry so I think it’s good for the sport. I’m old enough to know how it works. I didn’t take what Mohamed said personally.
Mohamed was proved right in one instance as I couldn’t cope with the pace he played at in our match. It was a lot for me on the day and I need to go back and figure out how I will deal with that better next time.
In terms of being past my peak, I think I have shown there is still life in the old dog yet and I feel like I have at least got one more tilt at the world title.
It was absolutely astonishing watching the final. It will probably go down as one of the greatest squash matches of all time. For Ramy Ashour to be out for six months with injury and to comeback and win it was a pretty incredible effort.
*Thursday sees the start of the inaugural Courtcraft Nick Matthew Academy Steel City Open squash tournament, taking place at Sheffield Hallamshire Tennis and Squash Club. The PSA event runs for four days and features 16 world ranked professionals in a knockout format. The tournament is free to watch for both members and non-members so please come along and enjoy some great squash.