Less hugging, more rivalry: British duo aim to give Manchester a World Squash Championship final to remember

By Tom Belger

Britain’s top two squash players are hoping to create the ‘dream final’ at the World Squash Championship this Sunday at Manchester Central.

James Willstrop and Nick Matthew are ranked the world’s number three and four respectively and have a well-known rivalry which has gripped the squash world.

Twice world champion Matthew believes if both men make it to Sunday’s final it will be a memorable clash for the sell-out Manchester crowd.

“It will be the dream final for everyone,” Matthew told BBC Sport.

“People don’t want to see people hugging and kissing after every point, they want more rivalry on the court.”

Despite their strong, sometimes personal tug-of-war, both men admit they are inspired by each other’s success.

“We bring the best out of each other because we always want to beat each other,” said Willstrop.

“What he does on a squash court inspires me.”

They will face tough opposition if they are to reach the final, none more fearsome than world number one Ramy Ashour, who won the same title the last time it was held in Manchester back in 2008.

The current world champion from Egypt is also on a 50-match unbeaten run which has lasted 17 months and he expects an exciting tournament.

“Every single player, from number 1 to number 64, wants to win this title – everybody trains for it and is very, very hungry to get in there and compete and show the world they’re up to the standard,” Ashour told the Huffington Post.

“It’s going to be a crazy month of competition over there. So you guys should come and watch – it’s going to be interesting.”

Ashour started his title defence by progressing on Monday, joining Matthew, Willstrop and second seed Gregory Gaultier of France in Tuesday’s second round at the National Squash Centre.

The event will move to Manchester Central on Thursday for the quarter-finals onwards.

Image courtesy of pdhsports via YouTube, with thanks.

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