Gaultier relishing BO title defence

PSA report

Three-time Allam British Open champion Gregory Gaultier is aiming to add another title to his collection when the prestigious tournament takes place at Hull’s Airco Arena later this month.

The charismatic Frenchman marched to his third British Open title in Hull last year when he defeated home favourite Nick Matthew in the final, and the 35-year-old is hoping to repeat his success and add a high in what has proved to be a difficult season with injuries.

Currently at World #4, Gaultier has suffered with both an ankle and adductor injury during the course of the season but is ready to put that behind him as he aims to defend his crown in Hull.

“Winning another British Open would make me proud after the horrible season I’ve had full of injuries, it would also put me in a good dynamic for the next season too and give me confidence,” said Gaultier.

“It’s also recognition for all the people who worked and work for me still today, they keep searching and adapting the work as I’m getting older to find solutions to last as long as possible in the performance.

“Lifting trophies is not only for my own pleasure but also for the pleasure of all my team, sponsors and people who support me from all over the world. All the hard work in life, all the sacrifices from everyone, it will give them smile when I have that British Open trophy in my hands.”

Last year’s title win also saw Gaultier capture the top spot from Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy on the World Rankings as he became the oldest ever World #1 at the age of 34 and the Frenchman believes that he can recapture that form.

“I was focused on winning the event, the ranking wasn’t my priority during the event – it is just a bonus.

“Of course, becoming No.1 at 34 years old just shows that if you are disciplined and take good care of every detail.

“Sometimes I wake up I feel like I’m 60 years old and sometimes I feel like I’m 20. I try not to care about it, adapt and move forward to the goals I set myself.

“I always believed I could come back to No.1 and I still do today.”

The British Open is the sport’s longest running tournament with a record prize fund of $165,000 up for grabs in both the men’s and women’s event and Gaultier has a fond affiliation with the tournament after capturing his first British Open title back in 2007.

“Winning the British Open is as important as winning the World Championship to me. I enjoy playing it because it’s one of the biggest targets of the year and it has always been well organised in Hull the last few years.

“It’s also fun for me to challenge this new generation of Egyptian players.

“I was quite young when I won my first title and I still remember today how it ended. It’s a very special moment in life, especially when it’s your first time to lift a trophy with all the big names that are on it. It was special too as we were two Frenchmen in the final with [former World No.1] Thierry Lincou.

“Thierry has been always an inspiration and it was never easy to play him, but I remember that day I managed to stop thinking who my opponent was and put more my focus on my game. I played well all week, I remembered my last three matches playing [Peter] Barker, [Amr] Shabana and Lincou.”

Gaultier will line up against Australia’s World No.21 Cameron Pilley in round one at Hull’s Airco Arena.