England’s Nick Matthew and Gregory Gaultier will clash in today’s mouthwatering Allam British Open, where the spot’s oldest and most established title will be on the line in Hull’s Airco Arena.
Yorkshireman Matthew, 36, and Frenchman Gaultier, 34, are two of the oldest players on the PSA World Tour and have broken new ground in the sport over the past few years as they continue to fight for titles despite the presence of their younger competitors.
Both players can make history if they win the final, with Matthew on the verge of breaking his own record as the oldest ever World Series title winner – while a win for Gaultier will see him overtake Mohamed ElShorbagy at the summit of the World Rankings to become the oldest ever World No.1.
“It’s an amazing achievement for the three of us to be in the finals,” admitted Matthew.
“Myself, Greg and [Women’s finalist] Laura [Massaro] are still doing well at these major events. Regardless of the result today, it’s an amazing achievement that he’s in contention [for the World No.1 raking].
“When I got to a certain age, I thought I’d be in contention for certain titles, but to keep his consistency over a year is an incredible effort from Greg. We’re good friends off the court, we text each other saying these youngsters have got nothing on us and its funny when it bares fruit.
“It’s great for me to play Greg, it’s like turning back time. The clocks have gone forward today, but we’ve turned the clocks back, I’ve not played him for a while so it will be good.”
Matthew, a three-time British Open title winner, and Gaultier, who has lifted the iconic title on two occasions, have met 34 times on the Tour, with each player claiming 17 wins apiece.
A combination of early-tournament dominance and an injury to Ramy Ashour in their semi-final fixture has seen Gaultier spend just 116 minutes on court compared to Matthew’s 268 and Matthew is hoping to take advantage of the Frenchman’s lack of on-court time.
“We know each other’s games inside out, so it will be a case of testing each other out early on. He’s spent very little time on court, hopefully he’s not been reminded of how tough this sport is and I’m going to try and play on that,” the three-time World Champion said.
“Clearly you try and get to a final as fresh as you can. You will hear players saying spending less time on court got me here and kept me fresh. A similar thing happened to me at the Worlds in 2013, Ramy pulled out in the semi-final.”
Gaultier first won this title back in 2007 at the age of 24 and the ‘French General’ opened up on his ‘special memories’ of the tournament.
He said: “It means so much for me to do well because it is such a prestigious tournament.
If you check the trophy, there are only big names on it.
“To add my name next to these legends means a lot to me.
“I remember the first time I won this trophy, I was quite young, it was an unbelievable feeling. We [him and Matthew] haven’t played each other for a while, but we have had so many in the past, we always have fun and good matches against each other.
“He’s the oldest guy on the tour and I’m one of the oldest, I hope there are going to be a couple more before we retire.
“Winning the British Open would be one of the highlights of my career. Obviously there is a bonus that it will take me to World No.1, so it is a massive day for me. There is no pressure, so I will just play every point as hard as possible.”
Draw – Finals: 2017 Allam British Open (Times are local BST)
15:00  Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
follow on  Nick Matthew (ENG) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)