Nick Matthew column: Where I can take a leaf out of veteran Manning’s book

Denver Broncos Peyton Manning
Denver Broncos Peyton Manning
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Even now at 35, I am still learning.

I have just come back off a tour of the United States where I played 14 matches in three and a half weeks.

It was too many games so I have to look after my schedule better. If I do that, anything is possible.

We have seen that with Denver Broncos veteran Peyton Manning in Super Bowl 50 this week. At the age of 39, quarterback Manning helped the Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers and secure a third Super Bowl title.

Sure, Manning has a really good defence supporting him but I know for a fact that he has been managed well. He’s had a few injuries and suffered a loss of form in the last couple of seasons but they have stuck by him.

It shows that you might not be as good physically as you once were but that game management, tactical awareness and big game mentality only gets better as you get older.

I’m looking to use my experience when I face Chris Ryder in the first round of the National Squash Championships tomorrow night. Winning an eighth British title would mean the world me. It’s a big goal of mine to leave a marker that will hopefully last the test of time and be a good target for future generations to aim at.

The Nationals is a very special event and I have so many great memories of playing and winning in Manchester. I have played James Willstrop in the final a few times. I think we played in the finals one year when we were number one and two in the world.

The tournament is always a tough title to win and it will be interesting to see how the older guard like myself, James (Willstrop) and Daryl (Selby) react to a few of the youngsters coming through, as well as seasoned pros like Chris Simpson, Tom Richards and Adrian Waller who will think it could be their time.

I have taken a lot of heart from a return to form in January making the finals in New York and Detroit after some changes to the preparation I made over Christmas so I’m hoping to take this form forward.

I’m aware that you can be at your most vulnerable when you think you are in good form. I need to hit the ground running and stamp my authority in the first round. Chris is retired from the tour now but it’s a tricky opener. He’s very experienced and clever. He’s an expert at game management and tactical play so I will have to make sure I match that.