What the Fu?

Following another disappointing defeat today questions are being asked of Marco Fu and it is not hard to see why as since reaching the UK final in 2008 he has struggled for form…

A player with few obvious weaknesses, Marco has always struggled for consistency but under the guidance of former world champion Terry Griffiths he had finally begun to show how good a player he can be as he took the Grand Prix title in 2007, helping him to break into the top eight this for this season.

Since losing out narrowly to Shaun Murphy in the final of the 2008 UK Championship however Marco has struggled badly for both form and results. Defeats to John Higgins and Neil Robertson in the Masters and Welsh Open respectively were nothing to be ashamed about but a defeat to amateur player Tian Pengei in the last 32 of the China Open and then a 13-3 mauling at the World Championship ensured that his 2008/9 season would end on a low note.

Ahead of Ding Junhui in the rankings at the start of the campaign, Marco was invited to participate in the Premier League tournament for the first time since 2005 but unfortunately he was to struggle badly, winning just one match and finishing bottom of the group phase. He also has not been able to find his form in the season’s other major events, winning just one match and losing matches to players ranked significantly lower than him such as Mark Davis and Peter Lines.

What was particularly worrying about today’s loss to Ebdon however was the manner of it. Early on although he was not playing brilliantly, Marco did enough to lead 2-0 and Peter looked to be there for the taking as his pot success languished down at 56%. Ebdon himself is by no means at the top of his game at the moment and it was clear to see.

As Marco began to miss more and more however, Peter seemed to grow in confidence and by the end of the match looked to be full of belief as he won six frames on the spin to move into the quarter-finals. Marco on the other hand was a shadow of the player that we know he can be and could barely make a break over 20.

In commentary today both John Virgo and Willie Thorne remarked on how his cue action seemed to be different and almost jerky. Whether Marco has attempted to make a fundamental change to his game or whether he has developed an involunary technical fault I am not sure, but there is definitely something not right at the moment and hopefully it is something that he is aware of. Perhaps it can be put down to the fact that he is simply low on confidence at the moment, indeed his shot selection seemed to be very negative today too.

Hopefully he can get back to his best form soon because I like Marco as a person and as a player he has a strong all-round game and offers something different to the many aggressive potters in the game these days.