Refreshed squash star Nick Matthew is aiming to be the daddy Stateside

Nick Matthew with his daughter, Charlotte
Nick Matthew with his daughter, Charlotte
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For Nick Matthew, the US Open is undisputedly one of the biggest tournaments on the squash calendar.

But the Sheffield superstar will have to defy the odds to lift the trophy for the second time in his glittering career.

More than two months have passed since the three-time world champion last played a competitive match. The 34-year-old took a well earned break from the sport after winning gold and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Just as he resumed his training routine, Matthew’s wife Esme, a physiologist for the GB cycling team, gave birth to their first child Charlotte last month.

“I think the first trip away after having a child is a tough one,” he told The Telegraph. “It will be hard psychologically but it will be tougher for Esme.

“I have spoken to a lot of people who have been in a similar situation. Cricketers are often out of the country when their babies are born.

“We’ve been very fortunate with what I do for a job. I might have to go away for two weeks at a time but when I am home, my working hours can be quite flexible. I’ve been able to get up in the morning and go train, get back and spend the afternoon with Esme and Charlotte. It’s not like I have a 9-5 job. My hours are flexible.

“Sometimes I do go away for long trips but when I do get back, I am able to have a couple of days off. We knew what we were getting into with the baby. It will be hard but we are in the dilemma of the better I do, the longer I will be away.

“Esme and Charlotte want to be seeing me but, at the same time, I will be bringing the bacon home if I am away for longer!”

Matthew, a three-time world champion, flew out to Boston on Sunday in preparation for the Open, which begins in Philadelphia this weekend. The second seed faces a qualifier in the opening round on Sunday.

He said: “I love going over to America. I’ve got a lot of friends over there and I will enjoy the trip. It will be an opportunity for me to see where my game is at and what I need to do. I will have another couple of weeks before I go to Qatar and try to defend my world title.”

The world number three lost in straight games to mercurial Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in the 2013 Open final.

“He played amazing,” conceded Matthew. “It was one of the best games Greg has ever played against me.

“I’ve done well every time the Open has been staged in Philadelphia without winning it. I haven’t won it since 2007 but I’ve got to the final in two out of the last three years.

“I’m conscious that these titles are not going to come around for me too many more times in my career so I want to maximise my chances as much as I can.

“But I’m going to go there, be relaxed, try and enjoy it and let my squash do the talking. I’ve had chance to work on one or two things in my game so hopefully that might start coming to the fore.”

Top seed Gaultier and new World No.2 Mohamed Elshorbagy are in the top half of the draw and are in action on Saturday, the opening day of the tournament.