News Round-up

To say that this week has been a hectic one for me personally would be something of an understatement, but also in the snooker world there have been a few interesting news stories posted during this time. Below I have done my best to provide a summary…

Ronnie O’Sullivan is rarely out of the headlines and following reports that he will be using a new purple cue during the upcoming Masters tournament (though it has since been confirmed that the said cue is merely one of his existing cues that has been painted), he has been giving several interviews during recent days.

The first can be found on the Daily Mail website and in it he explains how he believes that he can longer produce the standard of play that he could earlier in his career. He talks about the brilliant 15-times world darts champion Phil Taylor and also about the much-discussed purple cue as mentioned above. Finally he comments on how he hopes that the tour will improve under the stewardship of newly-appointed chairman Barry Hearn.

On a similar note he has also told the PA how he sees his next five years in the game and also how he believes that it is important to ‘take the audience on a journey’ when he plays.

The Daily Mail meanwhile carries quotes on how he would like to see prize money increased, particularly for the winners of tournaments as opposed to first-round losers. I must admit that while I agree to a point, at the same time I feel that the professionals lower down the rankings should receive more than they currently do, indeed at the moment they do not receive anything until they reach the last 64 stage.

SkySports meanwhile report on how O’Sullivan sees China playing a big part in the future of the game, predicting that there could be as many as ten Chinese players ranked inside the top 16 in the future.

Moving away from O’Sullivan, Jimmy White has also been talking to the press, telling the BBC that he believes his recent experience on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here has . He also comments on how while he still loves competing, he finds the travel involved to be a chore and also looks back to 1984 when he won the Masters tournament. He finally states that he hopes to get back into the top 32 this year, an ambitious aim given his current provisional ranking of 61.

Another player commenting on the arrival of Barry Hearn has been Welsh world number six Ryan Day who has expressed the view that the players will now hopefully be able to express themselves more under Hearn’s governance. He has also commented on his own form and hopes that a possible victory over Joe Perry will be able to kick-start his season.

Stephen Maguire meanwhile has also been talking ahead of the Masters, looking back at last year and his semi-final defeat to Ronnie O’Sullivan who at the time was using a new cue. It is interesting to see Stephen admit that he went into that match thinking that he would have an easy task, an attitude that has perhaps cost him dearly on a number of previous occasions. Incidentally though I do think that Maguire is beginning to get to somewhere near his best and I expect him to have a good run next week. One to watch.

Further down the rankings world number 50 Andy Hicks has told The Herald that he is glad that he did not retire from the sport a few years ago and that he hopes that he can continue playing into his mid-40’s.

Finally there has been some sad news regarding Michaela Tabb who was due to referee the Masters final for the second time this year. Unfortunately due to a family bereavement she will now no longer be able to do this and will be replaced by veteran Alan Chamberlain who has officiated the final a record eight times already.