JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It is not everyday you get a chance to call yourself a world champion.
Jacksonville's Matt Jenson has one more chance to do that at the world squash doubles championship in St. Louis next month.
The 38-year old Jenson is making the upcoming world championships the last professional ranking tournament of his career. Having made it to the finals twice before but never winning it, Jenson is making sure that he leaves it all out on the court in his professional finale.
"It is a big deal," said Jenson during a break in practice. "Training has definitely been the strictest I have ever been, knowing that I am giving it one good, last push. There aren't a lot of squash courts around Jacksonville, so for me, I have to stay fit and keep weight off and be both mentally and physically ready to play. It is definitely important to stay up on my racquet work and get the court time that I need but I also have to stay on top of every other aspect as well.
Originally from Adelaide, Australia, Jenson entered his first professional tournament at age 16 after a few years of watching his dad and his friends play on the weekends because it was either play squash or "sit there and do nothing."
"From that it grew into a competitive spirit," said Jenson. "It is like anyone who plays a sport, you always have little goals and you want to improve and achieve certain things and obviously the more you get into it, the more you re-evaluate those goals."
One of those immediate goals is to bring home a championship to Jacksonville, however Jenson has goals just as big for after his final professional tournament.
"For the last eight or nine years squash has gained some increased popularity, especially with Ivy League schools and boarding schools in the area, but also in some urban programs right now. I always want to stay in the game and help those programs. I think that mentoring kids of all capabilities has always been important to me."
Jenson and his doubles partner Scott Arnold begin their world championship quest from September 21st to the 24th in St. Louis, Missouri.