World champion squash player awarded Honorary Doctorate

23rd November 2016

England's most successful squash player of all time has received an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University.

Nick Matthew OBE said it was an 'absolute honour' to be given the award from the University that had contributed to his successful career. The three-time World Champion and eight-time British National Champion thanked Sheffield Hallam's Centre for Sport and Exercise Science (CSES) for the support and guidance during his illustrious career as he collected his award in front of hundreds of graduating students from the University's Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at a ceremony held at Sheffield City Hall on Tuesday. "Sheffield Hallam has supported me right the way through my career, particularly in my formative years as a professional," said Nick. "It was the University that taught me the meaning of being a professional. I thought that playing squash, you just had to be good within the four walls, I didn't realise the science and everything on the outside that went into those four walls - it was the University that taught me all that. "I did a lot of training with the team at CSES looking at the physiology of sport, nutrition, psychology and biomechanics and they taught me about the marginal gains and the one per cents that people take for granted in this day and age but, going back to the start of my career it was really cutting edge and I owe the University a hell of a lot." In 2006, the Sheffield-born athlete became the first Englishman to win a British Open title in 67 years. After career-threatening shoulder surgery, he came back to win the prestigious trophy for a second time in 2009. In June 2010, Nick topped the world rankings for the first time and later that year, he became the first Englishman to win the Professional Squash Association's World Championship, a title he successfully defended in 2011 and won back in 2013. In 2014, Nick carried the Commonwealth Games baton through Sheffield and was the official flag-bearer for Team England at the opening ceremony in Glasgow. Despite a knee injury just before the Games, Nick won gold in the singles and silver in the men's doubles and went on to win a record seventh British National Championship title a year later. Nick is hoping to end his career on a high note when he competes at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast and will focus his attention on developing his squash academy in Sheffield. Nick said: "The Commonwealth Games would be my ultimate, last thing in my career and squash isn't an Olympic sport unfortunately, but Rio would have been a great way to bow out along with Jess Ennis-Hill who went out on top. "Two years afterwards is a long time so I've broken it up into quarters and that gives me something to aim for but not too far ahead. I've got another five quarters to get to the Gold Coast so I'll tick off one at a time and hopefully they'll get me there but if not, I've had a fantastic career to look back on and I've had no regrets."

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