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Kyme refuses to get into strop over draw

Nick Kyme, the Bermuda squash player, candidly admits that his reaction to being drawn against James Willstrop, the former world No 1, in the opening round of the Commonwealth Games involved a mild expletive.

On reflection, it should have come as no surprise to Kyme, who has developed a habit of facing the game's elite at the first hurdle of the quadrennial competition.

One of only a few ever-present players since squash was first included at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Kyme accepts that his chances of causing an upset are nigh-on impossible.

But after deciding that Glasgow will be the stage where he brings down the curtain on his Games career, Kyme can at least console himself that his final noteworthy performance will be against the favourite.

“It's fair to say it's not the easiest draw I've ever had,” Kyme said. “I think my reaction was one of 'bloody hell'.

“I've known him since he was a junior; he's a good guy and hopefully he won't make a fool out of me.

“It's weird I always seem to play somebody unbelievable at the Commonwealth Games, although I guess it's better than losing to a no-name.”

Ranked No 6 in the world, Willstrop, who is unusually tall for a squash player at 6ft 4in, claimed the silver medal at the previous Games in New Delhi.

And with Nick Matthew, the No 1 seed and a fellow Englishman, undergoing a minor knee operation just weeks before the competition, Kyme believes that Willstrop will be the man to beat.

“I wouldn't want to say that James was a freak as a junior, but he was very good at a young age and I would see him a lot on the tour,” said Kyme, a former professional who had a highest world ranking of 63 in 2005.

“At least I'll be on one of the main courts rather than tucked away at the back somewhere.

“He's actually been to Bermuda a few times and played at the World Open Championships [at The Fairmont Southampton in 2007]. If I lose, at least I may be able to say I lost to the gold-medal winner.”

Among Kyme's Commonwealth Games highlights was reaching the round of 16 in 2002 in Manchester and in 2006 in Melbourne.

It was at the Manchester Games where he had the distinction of playing in front of the Queen during his first-round match against Peter Nicol, one of the game's all-time greats.

“I remember playing live on BBC One in Manchester against Peter Nicol,” said the 33-year-old, who won the consolation plate title in New Delhi. “They only showed the first game and, to be honest, it didn't last all that long!

“The Queen was actually there, which kind of freaked me out a little bit as well.

“I was also drawn against David Palmer [a four-times British Open winner and former world No 1] in Malaysia. At the time, he was about 20-odd and I had no idea who he was, but I soon did, though!”

Kyme will be making the most of his final appearance at the Commonwealth Games and said that he intends to become a “a bit of a tourist” in Scotland's largest city.

“I want to make sure I experience everything I can in Glasgow,” said Kyme, who faces Willstrop at the Scotstoun Sports Campus tomorrow. “In the past, I've always been focusing so hard that I didn't have time for anything else.

“In Delhi, I didn't even go to the Taj Mahal; when I look back now, I'm like, 'What was I thinking?'

“This will be definitely be my last one. There's not a chance of me competing in four years. I'm just about hanging on now.”

Also tomorrow, Micah Franklin will face the winner of the match between Michael Kawooya, of Uganda, and Schubert Maketu, of Papua New Guinea, while Robert Maycock has been pitted against Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan, the No 10 seed from Malaysia.

Kyme was drawn against the world No 6 (File photograph by Mark Tatem)

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Published July 23, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated July 23, 2014 at 2:02 am)

Kyme refuses to get into strop over draw

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