Player thoughts

PLAYER THOUGHTS

17 Aug 2007 09:02:00
www.worldsnooker.com
A number of players were interviewed during the recent Shanghai Masters and below are their views on a range of issues.

Jamie Cope
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Temperament
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
I’ve got no idea!
Your toughest opponent ever?
Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O’Sullivan or Shaun Murphy
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
It’s great to see snooker get bigger and bigger there and for us to have more tournaments.
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
Ideally as an attacking player who was world champion and world No 1
Who has influenced your career the most to date?
O’Sullivan and Hendry were the players I most admired when I was watching snooker on TV
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
I just try to feel relaxed when I go out and play
The single best moment of your career?
Making a 147 in the Royal London Watches Grand Prix last season. There aren’t that many players who make a maximum under tournament conditions
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
Football, I’m a Stoke City fan

Stuart Pettman
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Mental strength
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
Running a snooker club
Your toughest opponent ever?
Cliff Thorburn
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
It’s fantastic, the growth in popularity has exploded there and it looks set to continue over the next ten years
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
I don’t think anyone will remember me! Perhaps as an attacking player.
Who has influenced your career the most to date?
I’ve never been coached but the players I most admired growing up were Alex Higgins and Jimmy White
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
No
The single best moment of your career?
Playing at the Crucible in 2003 and 2004
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
Golf, my handicap is 6

Stuart Bingham
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Temperament
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
I’d love to have been a professional golfer though I’m not good enough!
Your toughest opponent ever?
Alan McManus - I beat him 5-4 to qualify for this event and it was such a tough game
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
It’s superb, the more tournaments we have in China the better
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
Certainly not for missing the pink on a 147 at the Crucible in 2002. Preferably for winning a title.
Who has influenced your career the most to date?
My mum and dad
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
I like to practise my golf swing using my snooker cue. It relaxes me.
The single best moment of your career?
Winning the English Amateur and World Amateur in 1996 or beating Stephen Hendry at the Crucible in 2000.
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
Golf, my handicap is 6

Mark Selby
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Technique
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
I’ve no idea!
Your toughest opponent ever?
Ronnie O’Sullivan
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
It’s grown and grown there in the last few years and I think we should do all we can to help that continue
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
As someone who put a smile on to the face of snooker and as a character of the game
Who has influenced your career the most to date?
My dad, before he passed away, gave me everything he could to help me. Now my manager Mukesh Parmar and my other friends are a big influence.
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
No
The single best moment of your career?
The whole of this year’s World Championship
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
Tennis. I really admire Roger Federer

Ryan Day
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Holding your nerve when it matters
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
I’d be a policeman
Your toughest opponent ever?
Stephen Hendry
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
It’s very good, it seems to be going from strength to strength over there. Long may it last.
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
As a World Champion!
Who has influenced your career the most to date?
My dad
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
No
The single best moment of your career?
The 2000 Welsh Open when I came from 4-0 down to beat Steve Davis 5-4.
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
Football, I support Manchester United

Fergal O’Brien
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Discipline
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
Probably working in a snooker club
Your toughest opponent ever?
Stephen Hendry is not too shabby
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
It's fantastic. I was in Beijing in 1996 and they had a billiard school then, there was a sense it was ready to explode. Then Ding came along and he really helped, and there are many others like him coming through. It's brilliant for the game to have two ranking tournaments and maybe there will be more.
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
As being very handsome and a world champion! Seriously though, as someone who loved the game and always gave his best.
Who has influenced your career the most to date?
My dad
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
I always prepare the same way but I don't have lucky socks or anything like that, I try to avoid that kind of thing
The single best moment of your career?
Winning the British Open in 1999, beating Anthony Hamilton in the final.
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
Golf

Nigel Bond
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Technique
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
I'd probably be an accountant
Your toughest opponent ever?
Stephen Hendry
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
It's fantastic and it's the way forward for snooker. I've heard that there's about 20 million people playing snooker there. Maybe in a few years we could even have an Asian Tour.
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
As a consistent performer throughout my career. And obviously for the tournaments I've won.
Who has influenced your career the most to date?
My dad, without him I'd never have got into snooker
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
No, I'm not a superstitious person
The single best moment of your career?
Winning the British Open in 1996, beating John Higgins 9-8 in the final
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
Golf, my handicap is 10.

Ian McCulloch
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
The ability to win
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
Probably running a restaurant
Your toughest opponent ever?
Graeme Dott
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
It's fantastic - the more tournaments there the better
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
As a player who achieved as much as he could and put in as much effort as he could
Who has influenced your career the most to date?
When I started watching snooker I loved Dennis Taylor. Over the last few years Dave Harold has been my biggest influence
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
No
The single best moment of your career?
Getting to the final of the Grand Prix in my home town of Preston
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
I love darts and football

Scott MacKenzie
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Mental toughness. All of the players have good technique but having belief in yourself makes the difference
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
I'd like to have been in the armed forces
Your toughest opponent ever?
Ryan Day
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
There are some very good players coming through. Ding is the only one to have made a real impact so far, some of the others still struggle to get through the qualifiers at Pontin's. But in four or five years there will be more like Ding. Hopefully not too soon though!
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
I don't expect to be a top 16 player but I would love to get to a ranking final. Andrew Higginson showed last season at the Welsh Open that it can be done.
Who has has influenced your career the most to date?
My dad, 100 per cent. Without him I wouldn't be playing.
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
When I'm playing at Pontin's I always tidy the chalet and make the bed before I go to my match. I'm not the sort to leave a room in a mess. And if I'm on a winning run I always try to book the same practice time each day.
The single best moment of your career?
Beating Michael Holt 9-0 at the UK Championship last season was a great result. But probably my best moment was winning four matches to qualify for the Players Championship in 2004. I needed to qualify for the event to stay on the Tour. The last match was against James Wattana so I was playing for my professional status and winning that was a brilliant moment.
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
golf

Dominic Dale
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Dedication, because you can't get anywhere without it. Some people have a build-in dedication, while others have to work for it.
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
I used to work in the operations department of a police head-quarters and the Chief Superintendant wanted me to join the force, so maybe I would consider that.
Your toughest opponent ever?
Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
The success of Marco Fu and Ding has really helped snooker to prosper in the far east and there are other very promising talents coming through. Chinese players will become more of a force in the future.
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
As someone who was a bit of a laugh and an extrovert
Who has influenced your career the most to date?
When I first started watching snooker I most admired Alex Higgins and Jimmy White. Then Steve Davis came on to the scene and he was the first of the technical robots. Then I knew I had to get my technique right to improve my game
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
I tend to prepare in exactly the same way for matches and I always have a game plan. But I don't have any superstitions - to think for example that wearing a particular pair of socks is going to help you win is a form of mental weakness.
The single best moment of your career?
Winning the Grand Prix in 1997 when I beat John Higgins in the final. I played well and won in style in front of a big crowd and some great snooker people, dressed in their dinner suits. It was a wonderful night and it's great to have made my mark on the game - although I would like to win more tournaments.
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
I like tennis cricket and golf but I'd have to say my favourite sport is gymnastics.

Peter Ebdon
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Persistence
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
I'd be in MI5
Your toughest opponent ever?
John Higgins
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
It's brilliant news for all of us
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
I'm not going to retire!
Who has influenced your career the most to date?
Myself, because whenever I have done something well it's been down to me, and whenever I have done something wrong it's been down to me
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
No
The single best moment of your career?
Winning the world title in 2002
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
Horse racing (flat)

Dave Harold
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Determination
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
My brother is a builder so I'd probably be helping him with that
Your toughest opponent ever?
Steve Davis
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
China could be the future of the game - who know in ten years time we could have five or six tournament a year there. It's such a massive market and there are so many opportunities, it's very exciting.
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
As a player who gave everything he could to the game, worked hard and was a fair opponent.
Who has influenced your career the most to date?
Probably my former coach Mick Smith. Or Steve Davis because in the 1980s he set the standard for everyone else to aspire to
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
Not really, I go through rituals from time to time, but nothing that would be considered unusual
The single best moment of your career?
It's got to be winning the Asian Open in Bangkok in 1993.
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
I love football, I'm a Stoke City fan. We've brought in some good loan signings this summer and I think we'll be in the shake-up for the play-offs next season.

Tony Drago
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Cue ball control
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
I would love to have been a tennis player because it's my favourite sport other than snooker. But I don't think that will happen now as I'm a little out of shape.
Your toughest opponent ever?
Steve Davis
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
It's fantastic to have two ranking tournaments in a season there and I hope in years to come we might have three or four.
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
As a good player and a good sportsman - a gentleman on and off the table.
Who has has influenced your career the most to date?
Without a doubt, my mum
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
None at all
The single best moment of your career?
Beating Stephen Hendry 6-4 at the Masters at Wembley in 1999. I made three century breaks and at the end I got a standing ovation from nearly 3000 people. Plus the whole match was live on BBC.
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
I love to watch tennis, football and boxing.

Mike Dunn
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Composure
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
My dad's a barber so I'd probably do the same. I have done it before and it caused me a back injury so I have to be careful. I spent a while cutting hair a few years ago when we had a long break in the summer. I was shaving the head of a guy who was 6 foot 4 inches and had just come out of prison, and I forgot to put the guard on the clippers so nearly tore the skin off his head. What a mistake to make! He was fine though.
Your toughest opponent ever?
I'd have to say Ken Doherty because he beat me 9-1 in the UK Championship last year, he ripped me apart.
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
It's a fantastic achievement for our sport to be guaranteed two tournaments in China for the next five years
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
As a nice person who tried to get on with other people
Who has has influenced your career the most to date?
My coach Del Hill, who I will be working with this season
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
I like to have a meal before a match and sometimes a sleep
The single best moment of your career?
Either qualifying for the Crucible in 2002 or beating James Wattana in Thailand in 2001
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
I love football and support Middlesbrough FC. Our main target this season is to finish ahead of our big rivals Newcastle.

Adrian Gunnell
What is the most important skill / quality for a snooker player?
Putting the work in on the practice table and keeping a clear mind during matches
If not snooker - then what would you be doing now?
Running a snooker club or doing something with figures - maybe an accountant
Your toughest opponent ever?
Anthony Hamilton or Brian Morgan - he seemed to have no weakness
What are your thoughts on the current development of snooker in Mainland China?
Interest in any part of the world is a plus for snooker. China seems to be the biggest development area at the moment and I hope that continues
What would like to be remembered for once retired?
As a good, honest professional who worked hard. It would be nice to be remembered as a great player but looking at the rankings I couldn't expect that!
Who has influenced your career the most to date?
My family. Without the sacrifices they made I wouldn't have been able to play snooker professionally
Do you have a routine or superstition before matches?
I used to have a few superstitions, like always putting my clothes on in the same order or walking to the venue the same way. I remember the qualifiers in 1997 in Plymouth when I stood on a crack in the pavement on my way to the venue twice in a row and I won both matches. I don't think that would work anymore - I'd probably fall over.
The single best moment of your career?
Making a 147 in the qualifiers for Thailand in 1998 or beating Peter Ebdon 5-1 in Thailand in 2001
Your favourite sport other than snooker? - to watch and participate in...
As you can tell by my physique I don't play any other sports. But I enjoy watching golf and tennis

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