Asia Harris: Nick Matthew’s protégé set for bright future after US Junior Open win
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Asia Harris made it a birthday to remember last month when she was crowned champion of the US Junior under-17 Open in Philadelphia, USA, on the eve of turning 17.
The A-level student lives in Pontefract but trains at Matthew’s academy at the Hallamshire Tennis & Squash Club several times a week – and plans to commit full-time once she completes her studies.
"The US Junior Open is fast becoming the largest junior tournament in the world,” three-time world champion Matthew told The Star.
"She’s got that dream of becoming the best in the world, the best she can be, it’s always great to have that lurking in the distance.
"For us it’s about finding that combination of keeping her feet on the floor then having little stepping stones. If you do that step by step while having that bigger ambition you will go quite far.”
The pair have worked together for three years after they were introduced to each other by Nick’s former coach David Pearson, who still trains Asia once a week in Harrogate.
As well as Asia, Nick, who is also a three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, is overseeing the development of several other up-and-coming professionals, including Sheffield’s Nick Wall.
The 21-year-old has risen more than 100 places in the world rankings since 2020 and now sits just 20 places outside the top 50.
"His ambition for the season is to get into the top 50 so he can qualify for the major events,” said Nick.
"He’s one to keep an eye on in the coming years.
World number seven Marwan El Shorbagy is also a regular visitor to Nick’s academy, which runs free taster sessions for schoolchildren in the city.
Nick is particularly keen to extend opportunities to schools within areas of Sheffield where access to courts may be limited.
He said: "We are trying to spread the net, particularly after lockdown.
"Squash is the healthiest sport and tests you mentally and physically.”
Anyone interested in booking a free taster session should email [email protected].