Nick Matthew column: The titles will come if I keep putting myself in the mix

Nick Matthew, left, and Mohamed Elshorbagy
Nick Matthew, left, and Mohamed Elshorbagy
0
Have your say

My overriding feeling after losing to world number one Mohamed Elshorbagy in the final of the AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix was disappointment.

When I spoke to my coach yesterday, he told me I should be delighted with how I performed considering where I was a week or so ago. Given the preparations I have had due to recovering from a knee operation, I would have snatched your hand off to go that deep into the tournament.

I know that my coach is right when he says I should be happy with my performance but, as a competitor, you want to win. The good thing is that shows I’ve still got the competitive juices. If I wasn’t disappointed, it would maybe show I’ve lost a little bit of hunger.

I am trying to keep things in perspective. I knew it would be a tall order playing against Elshorbagy, despite him having a tough semi-final clash with Gregory Gaultier the day before.

Monday night was the first time I had been exposed to that pace in a long, long time. You can’t replicate that high intensity and skill level on the practice court. It took me about a game and a half to adapt to the pace that Elshorbagy was playing at.

After going two games down, I told myself that there’s no point going down with a whimper. I knew I had to go down fighting as that’s the way you learn and improve. I took the third game before Elshorbagy claimed the fourth.

At the age of 35, I am over the moon to have reached the final as there were times over the summer when I questioned whether I was on the right path.

You have to keep putting yourself in the mix and be happy to get to the latter stages of a tournament. If you keep putting yourself in those positions, you will win your fair share. Roger Federer will be the saying the same thing after making back-to-back Grand Slam finals in tennis.

What I have done is given myself a fantastic platform to build on. There are areas that I need to work on in my game but I have got to remember the things that I did well in the Grand Prix.

I should not be worrying about the here and now. I want to peak for the World Championships in a couple of months time and I am confident I will get better with each tournament I play.