Nick Matthew has every reason to be on top of the world after adding another prestigious title to his list of honours and silverware.
After returning off his holiday in Portugal with wife Esme and nine-month old daughter Charlotte, Sheffield’s squash supremo can finally tell everyone that he’s now Nick Matthews OBE after being named on the Queen’s birthday honours list for services to squash.
He said: “I’ve known for about a month and it’s been hard not to tell people.
“I’ve kept the news close just to my parents and my family.
“I didn’t realised that it was a quite a big thing to keep it quiet until the official announcement, it’s been difficult not to say anything about it for so long.”
Nick, a regular Star sport columnist is a three time World Open champion and was over the moon to be recognised by the Queen.
“It’s one of the biggest honours that this country gives anybody and it’s massive.
“I hope I’ve made my parents, my wife and my daughter proud.”
Starting out as an enthusiastic eight-year-old in the world of squash, it’s been a long hard fought journey to get where Nick is now with a bulging trophy cabinet and a world number 2 ranking.
He said: “I would have found it hard to believe as a young lad but I think that at the same time I guess with the sport also that anything is possible.
“I think that you could never set out to achieve something like this but you could achieve it and it was out of my control and it’s unbelievable to imagine.”
At 18 he finished his A Levels at High Storrs school in Bents Green, and straight away Nick shot onto the squash stage picking up his first gong winning the British Junior Open in 1999.
When asked how his OBE ranks with other titles, he said: “This has to be taken entirely separately from what I’ve achieved in squash it’s such a different type of honour.
“I’ve been to take my daughter to the star that I was presented with by the steps of the Town Hall and she will be able to see what I’ve done when she grows up.
She’s just started to walk and I’m so proud of her. I realise now what my parents felt like when I was doing well in squash.”
Nick said he hadn’t really thought about the royal occasion.
“Maybe I should ask them if they can make squash an Olympic sport?! But in all seriousness I don’t know I’ll have to sit down and think about it.
“It’s going to be an amazing experience.”
The squash star turns 35 this July and when asked about retirement he said: “There were a few times last season when the body let me down a little bit so I’m doing a bit more preparation.
“I always have the hunger to perform but it’s also having the hunger to prepare properly and put the hours in for training.
“In some ways I can’t wait to give something back to the sport because it’s given me so much throughout my career.
“I’ll definiteley be championing the cause that squash becomes an Olympic sport.”