The 2018-2019 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family get under way this week from February 23 – March 2 in Chicago’s Union Station and three-time World Champion Nick Matthew is predicting surprises at squash’s biggest tournament.
Former World No.1 Matthew has plenty of experience at the top level with three World Championship titles to his name and the Englishman is predicting a strong tournament across both the men’s and women’s draws in Chicago.
“Based on the form across the PSA Tour in the last few events, it’s hard to look past the top two in both men and women,” said the Englishman, who retired at the end of last season.
“The finals of the ToC were of incredibly high quality and despite the depth being really strong, the rest of the field are a little bit behind at the moment.
“[I'm] not so much [tipping] a surprise winner, but I think the beauty of the tour is that any player can be victim of an upset on any given day. There are always surprises in the Worlds particularly in the early rounds.”
Following his retirement last year, Matthew has now taken up a different role in the sport as he coaches the likes of Scotland’s Greg Lobban and England’s George Parker and the Englishman says he is enjoying that aspect of the game.
“I’m quite happy with my lot, and so is my mind and body. I’m enjoying my role on the other side of the glass.”
128 of the world’s greatest male and female squash players will descend on Chicago for the most prestigious title in squash as they battle for a record prize purse of $1 million, which is the highest in the sport’s history.
And Matthew, who claimed 35 PSA titles during his esteemed career, insisted that this is the event that all the players will be aiming to be at their best form for.
“Of course, you would have earmarked this event to peak for a long way out, but you also have to find a way to mentally treat it like any other.
“There should be a natural edge to your game that rises to the big occasion rather than a forced one.
“It’s certainly up there with the highlights of my career and something that will live with me forever. Reaching the very very top of your sport is a special feeling.”
The 2018-2019 PSA World Championship will take place at Chicago’s Union Station, while matches from rounds one and two will also be held at MetroSquash and the University Club of Chicago.
Matches from Union Station will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and finals will also be shown live on mainstream broadcast channels around the world, including BT Sport, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
Tickets are priced from $30 and are available for purchase on Ticketmaster.