DOUBLE world champion Nick Matthew will be aiming to become the first person in history to secure five British National Squash Championships next week.
The former High Storrs School pupil is the top ranked seed for the tournament, staged in Manchester, which gets underway on Monday.
Matthew, beaten by Gregory Gaultier 11-3, 10-12, 11-9 in the Case Swedish Open final last weekend, opens his campaign on Wednesday against a qualifier. The right handed Sheffielder could face close friend Daryl Selby in the semi-final or Tom Richards, who is a force to be reckoned with on his day.
On the other side of the draw is Yorkshireman James Willstrop, a two-time winner of the event in 2007 and 2008.
The competition features the world’s leading male and female players competing for the prestigious National title whilst a record number of Masters players contest fifteen age-group categories from Over-35’s to Over-75’s.
The National Squash Centre will also host 1,500 local school children in the event’s largest legacy programme to date.
In the women’s event, Lancashire’s Laura Massaro, the world number three, is bidding to claim the national title for a third year on the trot. In the last two years, the 29-year-old, from Chorley, has also reached the World Open final.
However, Massaro is unlikely to have it all her own way. Her England teammates Jenny Duncalf and Alison Waters, who have both won the prize twice previously, could give Massaro a run for her money. Waters is the world no 4.
Emily Whitlock is another one to watch. The teenager is one of England’s brightest prospects.