CLAIMING multiple world titles should be Sheffield squash ace Nick Matthew’s target, according to his coach David Pearson.
Former England national coach Pearson believes Matthew, who first picked up a racquet at the Hallamshire Tennis and Squash Club at the age of eight, has the ability to go on and become one of the all-time greats of the sport.
Speaking to Grassroots, Pearson said: “Nick had a fantastic 2010. He won everything in the game so all he can do now is double up.
“I think Nick has got another two to three years at the top. He is in good shape so he has to try and stay world number one and retain the world title.
“He should aspire to achieve what Amr Shabana and Peter Nicol have done in the game.
“They dominated for years and I don’t see why Nick can’t do the same.”
Matthew is currently competing in the North American Open Squash Championship in Richmond, Virginia.
His maiden victory in the tournament in 2010 helped propel the 30-year-old to the world number one ranking status for the first time in his career last June. It provided the springboard for Matthew to go on and secure double gold in the Commonwealth Games and the world title.
Pearson wants Matthew’s to improve his short play to stay ahead of the chasing pack: “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.” Pearson has also confirmed Matthew will be more selective over the events he enters over the coming years.
“Nick will have to pick and choose his tournaments more,” he said. “As Nick gets older, his body will get more of a hammering and it will take him longer to recover from matches.
“In the latter part of Peter Nicol’s career, he started to focus solely on the major tournaments to preserve his career. Nick will be looking to do something similar.”
Matthew is aiming to get back to winning ways at the North American Open after a surprise defeat to England team mate Daryl Selby in the final of the British National Championships in Manchester earlier this month.
It was Selby’s third title in 2011, with the Essex player having also triumphed in Vancouver and Edinburgh.
“Daryl is an extremely efficient mover,” said Pearson. “He is not a poweful hitter of the ball but he is a clever tactician. He has got his best years ahead of him. He is in the top 10 players now and a good athlete.”
Having edged past Julian Illingworth and Canada’s Shahier Razik in the opening rounds, Matthew meets Australian veteran David Palmer in the quarter-finals of the Open today.