By Sam France
Former British champion Daryl Selby is looking forward to the challenge of holding off the new generation at the AJ Bell British National Squash Championships from 14-17 February, which he believes will be the most open tournament in years.
With ten-time winner Nick Matthew’s lengthy reign brought to an end by retirement, any number of players could be going to Nottingham fancying their chances of a win.
Selby, who won the tournament eight years ago, beating then-World#1 Matthew in the final, is itching to add a second national title to his collection.
“This year it’s a lot more interesting than it’s ever been. Nick’s retired and he’s been extremely dominant in the Nationals over the last decade, so it opens it up.
“I think now when you look at it, there’s a lot of players that could win.
“Any of the top eight seeds or even going down to ten, you could argue have a genuine case for winning which makes it the most interesting Nationals in years.”
Selby enjoyed a successful 2018, winning silver at the Commonwealth Games and a first PSA tour victory in two years in Qatar.
And while he is only two-and-a-half years younger than the retired Matthew, he isn’t thinking too hard about retirement just yet.
“Nick put a date on his and worked towards that and I can’t really do that because I still feel pretty good when I play.
“It’s something you always think about but while I’m still enjoying playing – which I definitely am – and while I’m still competing with the top guys and not letting my level drop too low, then I’ll just keep going as long as I can.
“You’re a long time retired and I enjoy competing and being on the other side of the table. Being one of the oldest guys and trying to keep the youngsters at bay is a good challenge in itself and I just love different challenges.
“It used to be me trying to beat the top guys, being a young buck and trying to come through and improve. Now I’m doing it the other way and trying to use the experience, guile, knowledge and good squash to combat these extremely fast and fit youngsters!
“New days, new challenges.”