Matthew is the first Englishman to top the rankings for six years
Nick Matthew celebrated the news that he will become England's first world number one for six years from 1 June by winning the Sky Open title in Cairo.
The Yorkshireman's semi-final win over Thierry Lincou, coupled with current number one Ramy Ashour's loss to Karim Darwish, secured top spot.
In the final Matthew, 29, beat Egyptian Darwish 6-11 11-7 12-10 13-11 to extend his unbeaten run to 28 matches.
"It's a surreal feeling. World number one sounds great," said Matthew.
Talking to BBC Sport, Matthew added: "The enormity of it certainly hasn't sunk in yet.
"Squash missing out on London 2012, and Rio 2016 for that matter, was a massive blow and hopefully this will give the sport a much needed boost in this country.
"The squash season is effectively over now, so it's a great time to have achieved this.
"It means I can put my feet up for a few weeks and then come back refreshed and ready for the new challenge of holding on to the top spot."
Fellow Englishman James Willstrop is fifth in the rankings, with Peter Barker seventh and Daryl Selby ninth.
The last Englishman to top the rankings was Lee Beachill, who enjoyed a three-month reign in 2004.
He replaced Scot-cum-Englishman Peter Nicol as world number one, while Scotland's John White also enjoyed a two-month spell on top of the rankings in 2004.