Nick Matthew is relishing the prospect of returning to the city and court where he claimed his third world crown next month.
The world number one will be chasing a record-breaking sixth National Squash Championship title when he competes in the the Manchester event. The tournament, which is to be staged at the National Squash Centre, runs from February 10-16.
Sheffield star Matthew, who beat Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in November to secure his third world title, said: “I can’t wait to compete in Manchester again. Obviously I have very special memories of playing in the city after winning the world title there last year. The atmosphere in Manchester is always electric and hopefully we’ll give them plenty to cheer about.”
The 33-year-old’s biggest threat is likely to come from his long-time rival James Willstrop.
Matthew said: “I’m aiming for a sixth Nationals title but I’ll have to be at the very top of my game because there’s great depth in English squash at the moment with four guys in the world top 10 so it won’t be easy.”
Matthew, meanwhile, is looking forward to locking horns with Amr Shabana in the quarter-finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York today. It took the second seed less than 40 minutes to beat Stephen Coppinger on Sunday and seal his place in the last eight.
“I am wary of feeling like I am playing well as you don’t want to get complacent,” said Matthew. “Amr is one of the greatest players ever. As a player, you want to get on court with people such as him.”
The winner will play Peter Barker or Willstrop.