Earlier this week, it was announced that Manchester will host the 2017 edition of both the PSA Men’s and Women’s World Championships as the most prestigious tournament in the sport heads to England for the first time since 2013.
With the event set to feature almost 200 of the world’s best squash players and a record prize purse of $45,000 for the winner, which will be equal across the Men’s and Women’s tournaments for the first time in history, up for grabs, the 2017 instalment of squash’s pinnacle tournament looks certain to be one of the greatest ever events.
For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we thought we would take a look back to the last time the World Championship was held in Manchester – the 2013 AJ Bell World Squash Championship where England No.1 Nick Matthew became World Champion for the third time.
The then-33-year-old was the second oldest competitor at the event but his age showed no signs of slowing him down as the experienced Yorkshireman powered past youngster Zahed Mohamed in the opening round before Max Lee and Omar Mosaad were all beaten by the number four seed.
He saw off Amr Shabana in impressive fashion in the quarter-final before his semi-final clash with defending champion Ramy Ashour was cut short due to an injury to the Egyptian, thus seting up a final clash with ‘French General’ Gregory Gaultier, who came into the final in rampant form having failed to drop a game en-route to the showpiece finale.
It would be the second time Matthew and Gaultier had met in the final of squash's biggest prize after the Yorkshireman bested his counterpart two years previously in Rotterdam.
An intense, physical display played out in front of an enthralled crowd at the National Squash Centre where the title was decided in the most spectacular of fashion as Matthew lifted the third World Championship title of his career.
That victory proved to be a springboard of sorts for Matthew who rose into the world's top three.
Matthew and Gaultier renewed their rivalry two months later at the Swedish Open where Matthew again proved to be the winner in a 3-0 demolition of the Frenchman.
A British National Championship title followed for Matthew later that month before he picked up his fourth Canary Wharf Classic title in March.
The Yorkshireman picked up gold and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games singles and doubles events respectively in the summer before he locked horns with Gaultier in the semi-final of the AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix, besting the Frenchman in a climactic 3-2 triumph. Matthew went on to lift his third PSA World Tour title of the year.
Matthew triumphed yet again against Gaultier to pick up the Swedish Open crown in February 2015 before he became the oldest ever winner of a PSA World Series event a month later at the Windy City Open.
It is likely that these ensuing successes would not have happened without Matthew's stunning win over Gaultier back in 2013 and you can see highlights of the titanic tussle below.
More Matthew magic is available exclusively on SQUASHTV – including the titanic 2011 World Championship final.