"I WANT THREE TITLES" SAYS MATTHEW
London Piazza, O2 Arena, London. Monday 14th May: England’s squash World Champion Nick Matthew, has reiterated his determination to add a third Allam British Open title to his burgeoning portfolio of PSA victories, when the tournament begins at the London Piazza, O2 Arena today.
“I want to make it a hat-trick of British Open titles,” said the 32 year old, Sheffield professional. “No Englishman has ever won three consecutive titles and I think I have the game to do it.”
“I wasn’t happy to lose my spot at the top of the world rankings to James (Willstrop) at the start of the year, but it was inevitable after I missed the end of 2011 through injury and James hoovered up three titles on the trot to overhaul my PSA ranking points.
“I have been preparing for the British Open though for many months now. It’s an event we circled on the calendar at the start of the season to try and produce a peak performance for. This week will hopefully involve a bit of fine tuning as the preparation has gone well so far and I feel in good shape.
“It would be amazing to win a third title but I know it will be a tough week. I think I am more experienced now though and I don’t really fear anyone in this year’s field. I am more aware of my game and I know what I have to do. Now it’s a case of getting the job done.”
Former world champion Amr Shabana gets the Allam British Open under way with a high noon shoot-out against fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen. Shabana, a four-time world champion, said: "The O2 Arena is looking great. The set-up makes it one of the biggest tournaments in the world, which is where the British Open should be.
“I don’t mind playing early in the day because it means you don’t spend all day wasting nervous energy. After playing you have the rest of the day to relax and unwind.”
Shabana was runner-up to Australian David Palmer in the 2004 British Open in Nottingham. He recalled: “That was a very physical match and the referee did not know how to control things.”
After winning the PSA World Series finals at Queen’s Club in January, he added: “It would be good to win another major tournament in London, and especially the British Open. With an Egyptian sponsor, it would be nice to see an Egyptian champion.”