England’s three-time World Champion Nick Matthew says that the Professional Squash Association’s (PSA) commitment to offering equal prize money and playing opportunities is helping to drive the sport forward.
Speaking to the BBC’s Jacqui Oatley on last night’s Radio 2 Drivetime programme, the 36-year-old Yorkshireman discussed December’s PSA World Championships in Manchester – which will feature equal prize money for the first time ever – and also reminisced about his 2013 win at Manchester’s National Squash Centre.
“No one has any qualms about equal prize money,” said Matthew.
“The girls joined the Tour [in a historic merger between the PSA and Women’s Squash Association (WSA) in 2015]. Now the sport is aligned in prize money, in the organisation and it’s helped to make it go in the direction. Hopefully it will all help in the fight for Olympic inclusion.
“Last time Manchester hosted the worlds it was Men’s only. It was the best atmosphere ever and the crowd carried me through through against the Frenchman, Gregory Gaultier. Manchester has become the home of squash in recent years.”
Matthew, who has won 35 PSA World Tour titles in a glittering 19-year career, was keen to extoll the virtues of the sport and hopes that squash’s growth will help contribute to a successful Olympics bid in the future.
“We’re about to go to Dubai for the World Series Finals and we’ll be the first sport ever to be held in Dubai Opera, so the sport is breaking new ground,” he said.
“There’s a long list of why squash should be in the Olympics. It’s been named as the healthiest sport in the world by Forbes two years in a row, it’s dynamic and very global. There are World Champions from every corner of the globe.
“It was very popular in the 80s, but squash is getting its place back now. You come out feeling you’ve challenged mind and body [after playing].
“The Olympics would be the pinnacle. It’s a kick in the teeth that I won’t have appeared there, but we need to do what we can for the next generation.”
Matthew has been drawn in Group A for the PSA Dubai World Series Finals, which take place between June 6-10, 2017 and all of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and EUROSPORT PLAYER (Europe only).
Find out the schedule here.
Tickets for the World Series Finals can be purchased on Dubai Opera’s website