Squash: Sheffield ace to carry England flag at Games

Sheffield player Nick Matthew
Sheffield player Nick Matthew
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Sheffield star Nick Matthew will carry the England flag at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow tomorrow.

Three-time world champion Matthew, who won double gold at the 2010 Games in Delhi, will walk out first at Wednesday’s opening ceremony at Celtic Park after being nominated by his team-mates.

The 33-year-old told The Star: “It will be the biggest honour of my career to carry the England flag into the arena.”

Matthew regularly practices at Sheffield’s Hallamshire Tennis and Squash Club near Ecclesall Road.

The club tweeted: “Delighted to hear that @nickmatthew will be carrying the flag. #proudclub #hugehonour.”

It is deserved recognition for Matthew who will defend two Commonwealth titles in Glasgow.

A gold winner in the singles and doubles in Delhi, he has been an unsung success story of English sport for some time, having turned professional in 1998.

He won the first of his three British Open finals in 2006 before his Delhi success triggered his maiden World Open victory which came against compatriot James Willstrop.

In 2010 he topped the world rankings for the first time, with his further world titles following in 2011 and 2013.

Although not as well-known as fellow Sheffield athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, Matthew’s star is a bright one and in his home city he has a showcourt named after him at the Hallamshire Tennis and Squash club.

His Games participation was not always assured, though, having been committed to knee surgery four weeks ago, but his return to fitness is now complete.

Matthew inherits the honour from badminton player Nathan Robertson and follows in the footsteps of the likes of Darren Campbell and Mark Foster.

He is the second Yorkshire athlete to carry the flag, with Hull judoka Karen Briggs having done so at Auckland in 1990.

Matthew said: “I’m quite humbled to be Ieading these guys out, some amazing athletes like Sir Bradley Wiggins.

“It’s been hard to keep it a secret as I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.”

For full story, read Matthew’s exclusive column in tomorrow’s Star.