Three-time world champion Nick Matthew is adamant the 2013/14 season has been the best of his 16-year professional career, despite failing to claim a fourth British Open.
The Sheffield ace missed out on the prestigious title after losing 3-0 to French world number one Gregory Gaultier in last Sunday’s final at Hull’s Sports Arena.
Although he slipped to a 11-3 11-6 11-2 defeat against Gaultier in just 45 minutes - their shortest best-of-five-games encounter to date, Matthew is delighted with the progress he has made.
The 33-year-old secured his third world crown last November and went on to regain top spot in the world rankings before recently being knocked off his perch by Gaultier. Matthew also lifted the Hong Kong Open title.
Speaking on video at www.thestar.co.uk/sport, Matthew said: “It’s been a brilliant season and is probably up there with the best of my career which I’m delighted with at the age of 33. I still feel like I am learning and improving. It ended on a little bit of a low note losing to Greg [Gaultier] in the British Open but it’s still great to get to finals. Sometimes you’ve got to hold your hands up and admit that the other guy was better on the day.”
Matthew added: “It’s been a great year. I became a world champion again and got back the world number one spot which I didn’t think was possible because Ramy [Ashour] was so far ahead. That was a massive bonus.”
“I had not won the Hong Kong Open in 16 attempts. That had been a bit of a bogey tournament for me so that was another big achievement.”
Following a well-earned break, Matthew next campaign will be in Glasgow where he will try to try to defend his Commonwealth gold medal for England.
“I’m going to have a couple of weeks rest and then step up my preparations for the Commonwealth Games,” he said.