James Willstrop looking forward to AJ Bell British National Squash Championships

Two-time champion James Willstrop is looking forward to pitting himself against the best of the new generation at the AJ Bell British National Squash Championships to be staged in Nottingham from the 14th to 17th February.

The former World No.1 won back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008 and has finished runner-up in four of the last six finals.

With defending champion Nick Matthew having retired, this year’s tournament is the most open in recent memory and Willstrop is relishing the challenge.

“The quality of the field is starting to look as strong as it’s probably looked in years and definitely as competitive,” said the English No.1.

“You’ve got all these English players coming through who I’m really excited about, as an older player who’s looking at what’s coming up for England Squash. Some of these players are becoming really strong, it’s pleased me as I know how hard they’re all working with the coaches and with England Squash in particular putting the effort into them.”

Previously held in Manchester, the championships are moving to their new home in Nottingham this year.

“We’ve had a lot of great support from Manchester over the years and I’ve had an awful lot of affection for those events,” said the two-time champion. “It’s a positive thing with taking the event to a new part of the country where squash is thriving. The University of Nottingham is putting an awful lot of effort into the sport and squash is really benefiting”.

“I recently played on the all-glass court there where I won the British Universities Championships. It’s a nice and compact venue with a great atmosphere.

Having played in each edition of the tournament since 1999 Willstrop is well-versed in the championships significance.

“It has such a prestige associated with it, I’ve played it for so many years. So many great players in the world have won it because of the strength of the home nations over the years. It’s a big title to be British champion and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

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James Willstrop uses the UNSQUASHABLE JAMES WILLSTROP AUTOGRAPH racket which is available exclusively from www.unsquashable.com

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