Nick Matthew “could have been anything he wanted to be in sport.” So says his former PE teacher and Sheffield school mentor.
Nick chose squash and maybe there’s a lesson in that for all our wannabe footballers. His single-minded pursuit of excellence in a less glamorous sport came at a time when he was captaining both the High Storrs football and cricket teams.
The double world champion, proud to be inducted into the city’s “Walk of Fame”, made only one slight deviation. “Tennis was my first sport before squash,” Nick told me at his Town Hall reception hosted by the Lord Mayor.
“It’s funny because Jonny Marray (Wimbledon doubles champion in 2012 and part of the Great Britain Davis Cup squad) started with squash lessons and took up tennis whereas I did the exact opposite, moving from tennis to squash.
“I would still play everything at school. I don’t know how I had the energy.
“As a bit of an anorak, I loved cricket because of the tactical side of the game...
“I wasn’t great at football, just had an engine.
“Squash was at the forefront because it was something at which I could train to get better.”
Ex-teacher Mark Bennehan, who was at the ceremony, mentored Matthew after both started at High Storrs on the same day.
He said: “I’m not surprised at Nick’s success. He was also good at athletics, a great all-rounder.”
If you see a group of Services guys drop in on Bramall Lane or Hillsborough next month then don’t detain them with idle chit chat.
It’s their mission – some would say impossible - to visit all 92 league football grounds in little more than 90 hours.
Assuming they blaze the necessary trail around the nation’s roads, I hope they avoid having too many photographs taken en route!
This is about making money, not losing it, and it’s all in a very good cause. A group of RAF, Army and Navy personnel are making the whistlestop journey in aid of Help for Heroes.
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