Posted on 26th September 2023
By RJ Mitchell
MATTHEW WARING believes his preparation for the Scottish Open qualifiers has been benefited by his recent jousts with Europe’s best juniors.
The 17 year-old has played two of the top four under-19 players in Europe in recent weeks and despite still shaking off the after effects of a chest infection, Matthew more than held his own in the Danish Junior Cup and FZ Forza Irish Junior Open.
Now as he looks ahead to the Scottish Open qualifiers, where he will step up to senior level to face England’s Rohan Thool at the Emirates next week, Matthew reckons he is ready to bring his ‘A’ game into play as he attempts to reach the first round.
Reflecting on all of this, Matthew who is ranked no.2 in the Scottish men’s singles, said: “The Scottish Open is another important part of the process of my development and I am just raring to go. Obviously there is more significance attached to it with all the history behind the Scottish Open but I just want to focus on my game and make sure I learn as much from it as I can.
“Hopefully I will have a few people along to support me as it would be great to see some familiar faces in the crowd.
“But what matters most is what I do on the court and in that respect I think my preparation has been pretty good.
“In Denmark at the Danish Junior Cup Under – 19 I had arrived off the back of an infection and drew the best under-19 player in Europe and lost out 15 and 14 to William Bogebjerg, who although officially he is not ranked No.1 (BEC Ranking No.4), he is in my opinion the best in Europe.
“Then the following week it was the Irish Open and I reached the second round where I lost to the second seed Matthew Cheung (BEC Ranking No.3) of Ireland.
“I would say he was probably the third best in Europe so that was two really difficult draws back to back and I was pretty decent over both games and was certainly competitive and with him the whole time.
“I felt that I was winning points off my winners but towards the end I snatched at a few and put them out and that was what cost me.”
Yet Matthew has no doubt that he learned some valuable lessons against his vaunted Danish and Irish peers and he said: “Really the big take away was that I am not a million miles away. Especially as against Matthew Cheung (the eventual winner of Irish Junior Open) I was nowhere near my best physically and even allowing for that I was still very competitive (14-21, 13-21).
“For sure there are areas in my game I need to improve like cutting down the mistakes, getting better height and maybe my timing was not good at some stages but apart from that I didn’t feel like there was much in it.”
Back in February Matthew made history by making the final of the Scottish Senior Championships, knocking out then Scottish No.2 James Robertson in an epic three set encounter to become the youngest Scot to make the final of the national men’s singles.
Building on that, recently he has also been mixing it in the seniors as he bids to get the right balance to his preparations for the Emirates.
He shared: “I played the Lanarkshire Open recently and made the final against Ciar Pringle and lost 14 and 17 but as I was still slightly coming back from illness and I was happy with that.
“On the way though I had good wins against Angus Meldrum (21-18, 21-18) and Finlay Jack (10-21, 21-16, 21-19) and the match against Finlay was a toughie and that was all really important match-time in the bank.
“Plus making the final of the Scottish Nationals last season, and the experience I took from that, will also be a big help for the Scottish Open and how I approach things at the Emirates.”
Focussing on next week’s qualification process for the Scottish Open, Matthew admits that England’s Thool, who is his first round opponent, is something of an unknown quantity to him.
He said: “I don’t know too much about Thool but it is senior and an International Challenger so I expect a tough game, really I just have to take the experience as it comes and then if I can get through that it is the eighth seed for the qualifying tournament which will be another step up.
“So that will definitely be at a level above what I have played in the past and what is important is that I don’t put too much pressure on myself, focus on producing my best form and just see where that takes me.
“But I am really looking forward to the experience.”