THE BLOG
12/11/2013 07:16 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

A Baby and a World Championship All in the Course of a Week

The press are interested in the baby, a welcome diversion for me and I am happy to talk about it. Few of the questions they ask regarding plans are answerable until the proverbial bridge is crossed... I beat Englishman Tom Richards to reach the third round.

Monday 27 October

First match in the World Championships in Manchester at the National Squash Centre and Vanessa shows no signs of giving birth to our son, who is nearly a week overdue. Lazy perhaps? Unpunctual maybe. It's not every Monday morning you wake up to be faced with two gargantuan life experiences directly ahead. World Championships in England don't come around every year, and neither does the birth of a child. Both could happen this week. I decide to play my world championship matches whatever happens, and hope the boy announces himself during the gaps..

I play Joel Hinds in my first match and win 3-0, before hot-footing it home.

Tuesday 28 October

The press are interested in the baby, a welcome diversion for me and I am happy to talk about it. Few of the questions they ask regarding plans are answerable until the proverbial bridge is crossed.

I beat Englishman Tom Richards to reach the third round.

Wednesday 29 October

The daily routine is coming together. After practicing each morning at Chapel Allerton, I eat lunch and head off to Manchester. The M62 has been kind so far, seen as though I have been on it all week. The car journeys have been easy, and with the various and multitudinous podcast and audiobook options available nowadays, they have twice the appeal they once did.

I have to perform well tonight and I beat Borja Golan in 3 games.

Friday 1 November

I wake and routinely ask Vanessa if there have been rumblings, to which she responds negatively. I decide to take the morning easy, figuring I might need all the energy I can muster to win three world class matches in three days. I arrange a practice for 1.30 at Manchester Central, the venue for the final rounds. Setting off at 11.40, I receive a call from Vanessa and it appears I have jinxed the M62 saying it had been kind. 'The motorway is closed. You need to find another route', she says. So I explore the A58 for the first time, and absorb swathes of scenic Calderdale detail as I am enveloped in gridlock. I stop in Sowerby Bridge for tea and cake, and eventually wind up in Manchester at gone four, podcasted up to the eyeballs.

Apparently it was a suicide attempt on Scammonden bridge, which I learn had ironically been prevented; a fruitless day then for all concerned.

I arrive at the venue at 5.30 for physio treatment. The travelling hasn't been ideal but I am mentally ready for all the issues the week throws up. On arrival I don't know where the entrance is and had only seen the court on television. I walk on to the court, into the most incredible atmosphere, and enjoy the big occasion. I am happy with the squash until at 9-7 in the fourth I make two hideous errors to end my world championship hopes.

Saturday 2 November

Finally, the pain for Vanessa begins at 7 am, and she gives birth to a little boy 13 hours later. I almost feel embarrassed even thinking how shattered I am having just witnessed the ordeal to which she has been subjected.

Sunday 3 November

As we acquaint ourselves with the youngster, the World Championship Final takes place in Manchester, and what a fitting match to conclude a quite brilliant event. Nick Matthew wins his third world title 3-2 against Gregory Gaultier, giving him unquestionably enduring status in the history of professional squash. Gaultier himself has a remarkable record at world championships, having reached four finals, and should be very proud.

Everyone involved at the AJ Bell World Championships 2013 should be proud of this first class tournament.

Some disappointments, some unclassifiable thrills. A week to remember though, undoubtedly. Time for a couple of boring days now I think.