Shaun Murphy: End of Term Report 2010/11

As mentioned during my look at Snooker on the Internet yesterday, reigning PTC Finals champion Shaun has recently re-launched his website together with a brand new blog. Last Friday he posted his thoughts on the 2010/11 season which you can read here or by clicking below…


Hi everyone. So, I thought I would have a look back over the past 12 months and have a little season review.

The 2010/2011 season started early for me, out in Wuxi in China for the Jiangsu Classic. All the tournaments out in China are always well supported and this was no different. I’d not had the greatest success in that tournament before so I was over the moon to get to the final and play local hero Ding. All my excitement vanished though as I lost the first session of the 2-6 in what was a best-of-17 frame match. The second session didn’t start any better and I was soon 2-8 behind. But I never gave up and slowly started stealing a few frames. Eventually I got back to 8-8 and managed to win the decider for a 9-8 victory – one of my best.

I was really excited to start the PTC series and went to the first event in Sheffield really up for it. However, I lost my first match and was home before lunchtime. That was to become a bit of a pattern in the first few PTC’s and it took me a while to really get into my stride. I did a lot better in the EPTC’s as they all had crowds and I think the adrenalin helped me to play much better.

Shaun in Shanghai

It was a really slow start to the season, though, in general terms. Poor finishes in Shanghai and Glasgow for the World Open didn’t help improve my confidence. Sometime in October we had Power Snooker down at the 02 Arena. It was great to be involved in the tournament and even greater, I thought, that we had snooker in the 02. For me it showed how far snooker had come and where it was going. Through October and November I continued to play in the PTC’s and EPTC’s and enjoyed them all, winning one in Bruges.

During this busy time I had also qualified for the finals weekend of the Premier League as defending champion. I beat Marco Fu in the semi finals and that set up a replay of last year’s final against Ronnie O’Sullivan. Unfortunately for me I played really badly on the night and didn’t deserve to win at all. Ronnie took the title back and fully deserved it.

December brought the second biggest major in the UK Championship at Telford. Now I love this tournament and couldn’t wait to start, even though my form had been ropey at best. But these tournaments are all about playing your way into form and that’s what happened. I played really well through the event before losing a classic match to Mark Williams 8-9. A match only beaten in drama, I feel, by the final itself where John Higgins made a great comeback to win 10-9 against Mark.

Murphy considers his options at the UK Championship in December

The New Year brought with it The Masters at Wembley. A great event but one that I’ve never done that well in and this year was no different. My match with Jamie Cope where we both struggled with the conditions was poor at best, and eventually Jamie dealt with it far better than I did and was a worthy winner in the end. I had to watch the rest of the tournament from home.

Between this and the new German Masters where I also lost early we had the World Snooker Shoot Out. I played my good friend Rory McLeod and enjoyed the whole concept of the tournament. I’m sure a lot of people remember Rory’s fluked black in the last seconds of his game against Tony Drago and many must have voted that way too as Rory received the Moment of the season award at the recent World Snooker Awards night at The Dorchester in London. What a great night.

My visit to Newport for the Welsh Open was brief as I lost to Matthew Stevens and hardly had a shot. Matthew played too well on the day and I believe would have beaten anyone. It was a shame really as I love going to Newport as I try to stay at the Celtic Manor resort and play some golf there and this time, because of my result, I didn’t get chance to peg it up.

In action in Beijing

Mid March I went to Dublin for the PTC Grand Finals and we all had such a good time as it was also St Patrick’s Day while we were there. I think it had a good effect on me as the more chilled out atmosphere there relaxed me and helped me to play some good snooker and I won the tournament, my fourth ranking title. This really spurred me on and I went to Beijing for the China Open full of confidence. Losing in the semi-finals hurt but losing to the eventual winner is never a bad thing in such a competitive sport.

And so to Sheffield for the World Championship. I played some of my best ever snooker at the Crucible in my first round against Marcus Campbell and was full of confidence going into week two and my second-round match against Ronnie O’Sullivan. I’d never played Ronnie at Sheffield before and couldn’t wait to get started in the match. I think one of the biggest things about the multiple session matches at Sheffield is trying to stay close to the other player.

Unfortunately I didn’t do that and was 2-6 behind after the first session. This proved to be my undoing and I eventually lost the match 10-13. It was a good game and I’ve learnt a lot about myself from it and during the off-season I’ll be looking at ways to improve my game on the back of that performance.

At the Crucible

I think that the 2011 World Championship will go down as one of the best ever seen and I was one of the many millions who watched it to its conclusion. The Viewing figures published on tell their own story. Judd’s play kept me on the edge of my seat and he did so well to get so close to winning there. John’s win gave further proof proves, if we needed it, that he is one of the best of all time and is going to be a dangerous player for many more seasons to come.

As for the off-season, well it’s not as long as it used to be. Just enough time to play a bit of golf and go on a quick holiday somewhere and it’ll be time to get back to the practise table again for the new season that kicks off on June 20th with PTC 1.

Lastly, thanks to all of you for your support through the season; I hope to see and hear from lots of you over the weeks and months to come.