World number three Nick Matthew is desperate to make a big statement at the British Grand Prix this week.
The Sheffield ace wants to win the tournament to prove to his rivals he is still a force to be reckoned with at the highest level, despite entering the twilight of his career.
In recent months, Matthew, the winner of the Grand Prix in 2006 and 2012, has been beaten at the semi-final stages of the US Open and the World Championships.
And the 34-year-old told The Telegraph: “Lately I have been a semi-finalist and it’s about proving I can go really deep into a tournaments and get to finals.
“It would make a statement and say I’m still there and not to be messed with if I was to win it.
“If I can chalk one up the board, sometimes that can lead to three or four in relatively quick succession. It would set me up for a Christmas break and going in the New Year where I will start to approach my best.”
Matthew, who will begin his campaign against a qualifier tomorrow, has dismissed claims he is past his best.
“I’ve lost to better players on the day; it’s not like I’ve had a shocker,” stressed the three-time world champion. “People very quickly play the age card if you are not as successful as you were before.
“Look at Steven Gerrard in football at the moment. When you are younger, you just have a bad game. When you lose and you are 34, it’s because you are getting too old. You can still have a bad game and not win every week at that stage.”
He is seeded to meet the winner of Daryl Selby - Mathieu Castagnet encounter in the quarter-finals with a potential re-match with Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the man he beat to the 2013 World Championship crown, likely to await in the last four. World number one Mohamed Elshorbagy, who beat Matthew at the Worlds last month, is in the other half of the draw.
“Mohamed and Greg will be wanting to finish the year on a high but so am I,” added Matthew.