Squash: Confident Matthew targets Open glory

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The Swedish Open brings back happy memories for three-time world champion Nick Matthew.

The Sheffield ace has lifted the trophy four times in his illustrious career, including a run of three wins on the spin between 2009 and 2011.

Sheffield star Nick Matthew. Picture: PSA

Sheffield star Nick Matthew. Picture: PSA

Matthew, the world number three, reached the final two years ago, losing in straight games to Gregory Gaultier in the final, but he atoned for that near miss by scooping the top prize last year winning a thriller versus Egyptian star Ramy Ashour.

The 34-year-old, who begins the defence of his title against a qualifier in Linköping today, told The Star: “I don’t know what it is that brings the best out of me in Sweden.

“It is a great place to go and play squash. The promoter is Fredrik Johnson, who used to be a squash player, and he has done a really good job with the tournament and puts on a great event.

“Sweden has been a happy hunting ground over the years for me so hopefully I can do well again. It’s a tournament where I’ve got some great memories.”

Matthew is in good form, having recently reached the final of the JP Tournament of Champions in New York, before falling at the final hurdle, losing 3-1 to top seed Mohamed Elshorbagy.

“I thought the final in New York was of great quality,” he said. “The standards and depth in the game are so high now and I have to make sure I’m on top form every week to keep challenging.”

After the Open, Matthew will be competing in the British National Championship, which begins next week.

He admitted: “It’s a busy time of year. It means your training sessions are few and far between and you’ve got to maximise your downtime. The Open and Nationals have been two of my favourite venues so I’m looking to carry on that success.”