FORMER England national coach David Pearson believes Sheffield’s Nick Matthew must add more weapons to his armoury to preserve his squash career.
Matthew, ranked number one in the world rankings, succumbed to a shock five game defeat to Daryl Selby in the final of the British National Championships in Manchester on Sunday.
The 30-year-old, a double Commonwealth gold medallist, outclassed close friend Selby in the first game of the showpiece competition before the Essex player battled back to snatch the title in 84 gruelling minutes.
Matthew heads to Richmond, Virginia, for the North American Open next week and his long-time coach Pearson thinks the world champion has to improve his short play to stay ahead of the chasing pack.
Peason told The Star: “Nick’s short game still needs to get slightly better.
“He got himself in a hole against Daryl and his short game went to pieces. When he is not at his best on court, it is his short game that suffers the most. That is the main area we are trying to improve all the time.
“His volleying, fitness and tenacity are superb but he needs to work on the artistic side of the game. As he gets older, it will physically make a big difference to him.
“He needs to add extra strings to his bow so we will keep working on that.”
On the Matthew’s shock reversal in the final of the British nationals, Pearson added: “Nick was dominating the match for a game and a half but he got complacent for half a game and it cost him. Daryl got back into the match and then Nick could not get his rhythm back. Everything he was trying was not working and Daryl got on a bit of a roll.
“It hurt Nick because he would not have expected to lose to Daryl. Nick doesn’t like losing and I left him alone to think about it afterwards.
“But he has had a fantastic year and the final was one of those days.”
Matthew returned to action on Wednesday for Nottingham club Benz-Bavarian Duffield. It was the first time the double Commonwealth gold winning medallist had appeared for them since November. He comprehensively defeated Nottingham’s Eddie Charlton 11-2, 11-6, 11-3.
Meanwhile, Matthew has been drawn to meet Selby in the quarter-finals of the forthcoming ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic tournament.
The PSA World Tour event gets underway on March 21.
Matthew is seeded to meet Yorkshire rival James Willstrop in the Canary Wharf final. Their showdown in last year’s semi-final has been rated as one of the greatest squash matches in the history of the sport, with Matthew triumphing after two hours and 10 minutes