Young Welsh starlet Daniel Wells has been chatting about his game following a strong showing at the recent Masters qualifying event in Sheffield. Click below to read what he has had to say…
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“I’ve enjoyed it but to be honest I’ve found it quite difficult. It’s a real step up in class, the players don’t make as many mistakes as they do in the amateur game but I’m working hard to try and get up to that level, I feel like I’m not too far away and I tend to be competing more now on the main tour.
“I’ve learnt a lot already. It’s basically down to shot selection. A lot of the players coming in at the second and third rounds they play the game in a cleverer way than the amateurs, they tend to play shots where they don’t leave a lot on if they miss . They’re just a lot cleverer really, It’s opened up a whole new side to it that I’ve never realised before so adding that to my potting skills, I think I can be a force
“I’m working tremendously hard and trying to live the right life towards becoming a top snooker player and some of my results are showing that the potential is there.
“I’ve had a few slip ups this year. I lost 5-4 in the first round of the Grand Prix qualifying, I thought I’d win that match. But it’s kept me hungry and it’s kept me working hard and I’m looking forward to the next tournament now which is the UK Championship.”
“I think it [receiving the Paul Hunter Scholarship in 2007] was massive to be honest because I was just practising down where I’m from in Swansea and now I’m practising with a lot of the top players.
“I was playing with a few of the top players before in Ryan Day and Matthew Stevens but not so much on a regular basis but I’m playing people every single day who are at the top level.
“It makes you not make as many mistakes. If you play people that tend to miss a lot more balls, you seem to miss a lot more because you don’t feel you have to try so hard so its definitely sharpened my game up a lot.
“I like the environment, it’s the right sort of people surrounding you so I think it’s great and it’s helped me massively.
“Peter Ebdon has helped me a lot,”
“I was practising with him a bit and we’ve gone out for a few meals and he’s been talking to me about the game in general and what you need to be like to get to the top.
“I also practise with Ding Junhui who is an absolutely tremendous player. You’ve just go to watch him for an hour and you learn so much about the game. When I got here last year, there was I think 10 main tour professional players so the standard was frightening to be honest and it took me a while to get into it because obviously I was one of the worst players then. It wasn’t nice picking up balls all day but you get used to it and it helps you improve your game.
“It was weird because I was getting to the stage where I was one of the best amateurs in Wales and really thought that I was somebody. Then I came up here and there were 10 pros and suddenly I’m a nobody again. It was hard to get used to it nobody takes any sort of recognition in what you do because everybody is doing it over and over.
“If you make a century break it’s nothing to them becasue they probably make about 10 or 15 a day at least.
“It was hard in that respect, I found it difficult to get some confidence but I was working with a psychologist which was all part of the scholarship and she helped me through it. I think it’s been great and I think I’ve lost my ego which I had a bit.
“I thought I was somebody on the way up and then you realise there’s probably 30 or 40 at least that are as good as you, going in the same direction so you’ve got to be something else, you’ve got to be a step above that.”
“I am the youngest player in the Hot Shots campaign so I’m a fresh young face not many people have seen before. If I can fulfil my potential and get up there I think I can be a great asset to the Hot Shots campaign.
“I think I’ve got quite a good personality, obviously I’ve got to be doing it on the snooker table, there’s no use just talking a good game.
“So I’m working tremendously hard to try and achieve that. It’s been perceived in the past that only old people tend to watch the game which I don’t suppose is a fair reflection really.
“There are younger viewers but the more younger viewers we can get is great for the game. Snooker was probably at its most popular in the 1990’s and then tended to die off a bit so I think now especially with the involvement in the Middle East, if we can boost it in the UK again I think its going to be tremendous for the sport.”
After a couple of excellent wins against Liang Wenbo and Jimmy Michie in the Masters qualifiers, Daniel was unlucky to lose out to Fergal O’Brien 5-4 in the last 16, but he showed more than enough of his potential to suggest that he will soon be back again. Indeed his first round match in the UK qualifiers next week against another promising youngster in Li Hang should be an intriguing contest, one that I hope to be there to see.
It is really interesting to hear what has been going through his mind, how he has made the transition from amateur to pro and how he has had to lose his ego. I guess it is like when as a kid you leave Primary School and have to start again at your next school in the youngest year, it’s quite a change!
Hopefully the practice with some of the best top 16 players in the world will have helped him though, I’m sure it will have, and the longer the season goes on, the better he will be. Ranked in 75th position on the provisional rankings, he has work to do if he wants to remain on the tour for a second year but he is well positioned to do so if he can win a couple of matches in most of his events this season.