Five years ago I saw Nick Matthew play and I told my son he will someday be the number 1 player in the world. If I were to ever construct a game and player for myself this would be the player. His forehand volley drop is absolutely devasting. I love watchig him play Ramy and cutting off those cross courts and hitting those punishing drop volleys to the forehand.
It seemed like he would never finish a match I was watching -- a couple of times he retired injured. But then I saw him beat Willstrop a couple of years ago and had the opportunity to go up to him and tell him he was absolutely my favorite player and what a great match he played.
I remember at that same tournament talking to a local knucklehead pro who said to me Matthew doesn't "do enough with the ball." That really annoyed me and I told him he was ridiculous trying to remind him of that incredible forehand volley drop.
Okay, how many of us tried copying that Dave Pearson like backhand of his? I think that knucklehead pro went to Pearson's camp and came back with an abortion of that stroke.
Anyways, Matthew as of this writing is at number 4 in the world! This is great news and I truly believe if he remains injury free he will eventually hit number 1. The path through that is not through any Egyptians as he has shown, but most likely through Gaultier. I think Gaultier is the uncrowned number 1 in the world and I hope Matthews proves me wrong. France and England always a fierce competition.
I talked to someone who watched Matthews come up in the juniors. The thing he said that struck him most was his tenacity at wanting to win every point and at whatever cost. He never gave up on any points -- something you can't teach or coa
Maybe by March, number 1, Mr. Matthew?
As an addendum, since this was written Ashour and Matthew battled it out in Saudi Arabia recently in what was reported to be an incredible match. I can't wait to see a replay of this. At staked was the number 1 ranking...Mr. Matthew is ever so close, but what is even better is the Matthew - Ashour matches are shaping up to be a great rivalry. Anytime an opponent elevates another player's level of play, and intensity, makes for some great squash.