But produce he certainly did, pulling out all of his shots to win the Insurance Corporation Jersey Closed championship against a tiring Hickling, 9-7, 9-4, 9-0.
It was a fast and hard-hitting match, with both men producing delicate winning shots.
But Hopkins produced more of them, and Hickling too many unforced errors, allowing Hopkins to take the advantage, and the title.
After a match in which Hopkins seemed barely to break sweat, he said: ‘Rob flew out of the gates at the start, while mine were still padlocked! I knew I just had to switch on and keep working him, and mix the pace of the game to tire him out.
I was pleased to win – I won this title last in 2004, I didn’t play last year.’ Hopkins had clearly enjoyed the competition, and said that although he still misses travelling to compete all over the world, as he did until he retired from the professional circuit in 2003, he doesn’t miss living out of a suitcase.
‘I’m enjoying being in the real world,’ he said.
Hickling was magnanimous in defeat.
‘Mike’s strong and fit and it was hard to play against that sort of power.
I was ahead of him at the start, but out there on court was like being in a great, whirling vortex – it was great fun – but I was never really in with a shout.
But I don’t mind losing to Mike, he played so well.’ Steve Law was again beaten by Hugh Jones, who won his fifth men’s veterans title, although he lost the first game before coming back to take a 3-1 victory.
‘Steve capitalised on my errors and won the first, which was a very long game, but after that I woke up and won the next two when I found better width and length.
I had a couple of lucky shots in the fourth and drew away from him.’ In the over-35s final, it was 41-year-old Jon Hibbs who won, for the third consecutive year, against the hard-working Paul Frankland.
‘I’m pleased to win because I lost to Paul earlier in the week, in the men’s competition,’ Hibbs said.
‘I didn’t expect to win, but Paul was going for his shots and made some errors.
Even though he lost, I have to say he’s probably the most talented shot maker in the Island.’ Martyn Scriven, who will be 60 later this month, earned his place in local squash history with his ninth consecutive title.
He beat Gordon Burgis 3-0 in the men’s vintage category.
‘It’s always a good game when you win! Gordon always fights hard, but he had some tough games to get to the final.
I was more rested than him, and I caught him out with some short shots.’ Kate Cadigan, who beat Adèle Kapp in straight games in the ladies final, said their match had produced some good rallies.
‘Adèle is very fit.
It wasn’t as easy as the score makes it look!’ In the junior competition, spectators saw double not once, but twice, as twins Ollie and Ben Duquemin contested two singles finals, with Ollie winning both the U17s and U19s with identical scores.