The former World Champion is looking forward to an upturn in form next season - as well as giving a very famous rock star a snooker lesson.
How would you sum up last season?
There were very few positives and a lot of negatives. I found going to the qualifiers very hard, not because of the conditions there, which are good, but because of the shock of not playing at venues. You are going in cold and playing against guys who are confident and have matches under their belt. It's very tough. Hopefully I'm more used to it now and I want to get off to a good start in the coming season. Good players should be able to adapt to any circumstances.
What was the low point?
There were a few, but losing to Gerard Greene in the World qualifiers was the lowest. It was difficult to deal with not being at the Crucible as a player. The game is full of ups and downs and that's history now. There are a few more smaller events at Prestatyn now so I'm going to play in those.
You said after losing your Crucible qualifier that you might not continue as a player for long if your game doesn't improve. Do you stand by that comment?
Yes, if I'm losing and not getting any enjoyment out of the game then I would have to make a decision about whether to keep playing. I still love the game and I want to play as much as I can, but I don't enjoy losing. You get disillusioned when you know what you are capable of but it doesn't come out.
On the plus side, your work as a pundit for BBC seems to be going well.
I like doing it, because when I haven't qualified for tournaments I'd miss being around them otherwise, I'd just be at home watching it on TV. It's second best and I miss competing at the big venues, that hurts. But I do enjoy the TV work and having a laugh and a chat with the other players. It's nice to feel a part of it all.
Are you doing anything different in your routine this season?
I worked a bit with Terry Griffiths at the end of last season and I'm doing more with him now. I've also cut an inch off my cue to make my tip bigger. Otherwise my routine is the same. I'm playing in all the tournaments I can to get matches under my belt and build up confidence.
What have you been up to this summer, have you been out to Australia to visit your wife's family?
No, although her parents came here to stay with us for a month. Sarah's just finished her Masters degree so she's been very busy with that. I had a few days playing golf in Spain then went to a tournament in Thailand. I turn 40 in September so we might go away for that.
How is your (20-month-old) son Christian?
He's great. I got back from Thailand yesterday and he spent 20 minutes hugging me, he was so surprised to see me as apparently he was looking for me every morning. I miss him like crazy when I'm away but that's part and parcel of being a player and a lot of the others have gone through it. It's always exciting when you get home.
Are you going to see U2 on their tour?
Yes I'm seeing them at Croke Park in Dublin next week and I can't wait. They love snooker - Bono sent me a nice text wishing me good luck when I got to the World final in 2003. And the Edge paid about £8000 for an hour's snooker coaching with me in a charity auction. He's not taken me up on it yet so I'm waiting for his call, I'll enjoy doing that.
Finally, how do you rate your friend Padraig Harrington's chances in golf's Open Championship this week?
He won the Irish PGA at the weekend which will give him some confidence. These days he's a big occasion player and he comes good for the majors, plus he's got a great record on links courses. He'll be tough to beat and I hope he does well. He loves bad conditions, so hopefully it will be raining and windy, a true test of golf.