World number two Nick Matthew has paid tribute to the surgeon who helped him retain his Commonwealth Games singles title.
The Sheffield ace, a three-time world champion, required minor surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee in June, threatening his participation in the Glasgow Games.
But following an intensive rehabilitation programme, Matthew made a speedy recovery and beat fellow Englishman James Willstrop 11-9 8-11 11-5 6-11 11-5 in an enthralling final on Monday that lasted an hour and 40 minutes.
Matthew, who carried the flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Games, kissed his right knee after claiming his 25th consecutive victory over Leeds-based player Willstrop.
He told The Telegraph: “I need to thank the surgeon at Claremont Private Hospital in Sheffield. He did a fantastic job on the knee. I got a text off him on Monday night after I won saying ‘bloody hell, you must have worked hard’. Even he was surprised that I made it that far.”
Matthew praised the rest of his support team following his miraculous recovery.
“Five weeks ago I was on a hospital bed, throbbing pain in my body,” he said. “How the medics have done it… it is incredible. They need to retire now because it can’t get better than that.”
In a repeat of the 2010 final in Delhi, Matthew said he was disappointed to lose the fourth game and was concerned Willstrop would pip him to the title.
Matthew said: “I still believed I would win in the fifth but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any doubts.
“I saw a look in James’s eyes in the fourth which I had not seen in a while. He really started to believe and feel it was his moment. He felt he had the edge and was on top at that point so I’m incredibly proud I came back in the fifth.”
The 34-year-old, who won gold in both the men’s singles and doubles four years ago, said winning in Glasgow was in a “different league” to his triumph in India.
“It has felt like a home games,” he said.
“I’ve just been overwhelmed by everything.
“I’ve not really had time for it all to sink in. I’m just conscious now of finishing the job in the men’s doubles with Adrian Grant.”
Also amongst the medals this week for Sheffield was swimmer Ellie Faulkner (pictured) who won bronze as part of the 4x200m relay team.