25 Jul 2008
The Northern Ireland Trophy and Honghe Industrial China Open champion looks ahead to the new season, and the imminent arrival of some bulldog puppies...
How would you sum up last season?
Overall I was very pleased. I won two tournaments and got to No 2 in the world. I had half a chance at No 1, but Ronnie O’Sullivan took that and he deserves it because he’s the best player.
What was the highlight of the season?
Obviously winning the two tournaments, and making a 147 in China.
What was the low point?
Losing 13-12 to Joe Perry in the quarter-finals at Sheffield. I played well in my first two games, although towards the end of my second round game against Neil Robertson I felt burned out. That’s taking nothing away from Joe because played brilliant snooker. He attacked the match, and not many people expected him to do that.
What’s your target for next season?
To stay in the top two in the rankings. If I stay in the top four then that’s ok, although even if I finished No 3 I’d be a bit disappointed to have gone down. And to win at least one more tournament. I also want prepare well for the Worlds and give it a really good shot. I want to win that one within the next couple of years.
Will you change anything to help you achieve your goals?
No, I’m happy with everything about my game. I’ve got great practice partners like John Higgins, Stephen Hendry and Marcus Campbell. I tend to start practising for a tournament about six weeks before, then sometimes I’ll do something silly like going out with the boys a week before, so maybe I should cut that out. I can still go out with the boys but maybe I should do that at least four weeks before a tournament.
Speaking of things that affect your preparation, tell us about your rib injury.
I was playing badminton with Marcus and I fell over hard and landed with my hand pushing into my ribs. At the time it wasn’t really painful, but then a couple of days later I woke up and it was very sore, I couldn’t even sit up. I’ve been to the doctor but they won’t give me an x-ray because even if the ribs are cracked, there’s nothing you can do about it except rest. There are a couple of shots I can’t play at the moment, but it should be perfect by the time we go to Belfast, I’ll have no excuses.
What have you been up to this summer?
As soon as the World was over I was off to Ventura in Mexico for a holiday. I also went to Las Vegas with the boys. Now I’m waiting for my bulldog, Kyra, to give birth. The day before I went to Sheffield, the other one, Troy, was in an accident and he died. So we had to decide whether to get a new one or to breed Kyra. We decided to breed her and now she’s due in three weeks.