Nick Matthew will compete in the Dubai Opera tomorrow
This week, squash takes centre stage in a spectacular new venue. We already play in amazing tournaments with the glass court set up at Grand Central Station in New York and an open-air arena in front of the Great Pyramids in Egypt.
Tomorrow (June 6) we launch the PSA World Series Finals on stage at the new Dubai Opera.
The tournament features the top eight male and female players in the world who have accumulated points throughout the season competing in PSA World Series events.
The format is similar to the WTA Finals at the O2 in London. All the players are excited to be performing in this beautiful new building in downtown Dubai, which houses 2,000 spectators.
This year I qualified in fifth place in the PSA Road to Dubai Standings and hope to perform better than I did last year.
Nick Matthew faces Marwan Elshorbagy first
I was knocked out of the tournament at the group stage after struggling to recover from injury in time for the event.
I have been runner-up twice and one final went unplayed when I was due to play Egypt’s Amr Shabana because a freak storm damaged the marquee set up at Queens Club in London.
My goal for the season was to qualify for Dubai – so I’m delighted with that.
I had a few injury problems going into the event last year which meant I was lacking match fitness, so I’m doing everything I can to make sure I go there this year feeling sharp.
I know how tough it is to qualify and to make it with one event left was huge. Now I'm trying to peak for it and give myself a shot at that title.
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Nick Matthew has become World champions three times
It’s a huge title and, at 36, one I won’t have many more opportunities to play in. Being the first sports event to be staged at the Opera is fantastically exciting for all of us as well.
My first match is against world No.7 Marwan ElShorbagy, who has recently scored two victories over his big brother, former world No.1 Mohamed, so I will need to hit the ground running.
I then play another Egyptian, world champion Karim Abdel Gawad,before meeting German number one Simon Rosner on Thursday.
These round robin group matches are all played in a best-of-three games format for a place in the knockout semi-finals.
The top two go through so I have to be sharp from the start of the very first rally.
Anyone can win and the groups are really tough, so I expect it to be brutal.
Fellow Englishman James Willstrop is also competing, and he has a tough opening match against Mohamed ElShorbagy tomorrow, so it looks like being England v Egypt on day one.
Also in his group are current world No.1 Gregory Gaultier of France, who has won six tournaments this year and is unbeaten in 27 consecutive matches, and another talented Egyptian, Ali Farag.
In the women’s competition, England will be led by former world champion Laura Massaro, Alsion Waters and Sarah-Jane Perry, and I would love to see all three girls do well.
In the end, it all comes down to who can hit the high notes at Dubai Opera.
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For me, it is the end of a busy season after which I will be turning my attention to my coaching academy, with commitments in the UK and in America.
I shall be hosting two Masterclass Camps in July and August at my home club of Hallamshire in Sheffield.
The theme on the first Masterclass (July 8-9) will be around identifying your own ‘Super Strengths’ and how you can build a playing identity around them.
On the second weekend (August 19-20) we will be looking at coping with the demands of the modern game and creating specific tactics for certain opponents.
We have worked out special tactics to help me deal with all of my major opponents and we want to help players to adapt to facing opponents who have different styles.
For further details of how you can join me on court, visit http://www.nickmatthew.co.uk/NM-Academy