Ryan Day – The Season Starts Here

With the UK Championship now fast approaching this weekend, it’s time for the thoughts of another player from the qualifiers and tonight sees the thoughts of Welshman Ryan Day following his emphatic 6-0 victory against Scotland’s Jamie Burnett in Gloucester a couple of weeks ago…

Janie Watkins: Ryan the last round is usually tough but today you have just flown through it…

Ryan Day: The last couple of PTCs [have been good], apart from the one in Poland where by cue didn’t turn up and I had to play with Jamie Jones’ cue. My cue was getting delivered as I turned up back at the hotel, so perfect timing really for an extra kick in the bollocks! And then we went to Ireland and played a couple of good matches before I lost to Mark Allen in quite a good match, there was nothing in the game. I have been enjoying it a bit more and feeling better.

JW: Does having all these PTCs take the pressure off the big ranking events?

RD: No, I don’t think so. I think everyone has got a different mentality going into the PTCs, I just try to enjoy it and just try to get on with it really. Like when my cue didn’t turn up obviously it was a major blow but I just got Jamie’s cue, there’s no chance to practice beforehand so just straight on and apart from Alfie playing really well I could have won easily.

Everyone is saying different things about the PTCs, last year when I didn’t win a match in them I absolutely despised them. I wouldn’t say that I am quite at that level at the minute but like I say everyone has got different opinions.

JW: Have you played at York before?

RD: Yeah it’s a lovely city and the venue is really good. It’s a lovely set-up and with them being best of 11’s now there will be two television tables.

I think in general everyone would prefer to play best of 17’s but the upside is that everyone gets a proper match, everyone that plays wants to be involved in those kind of games. I think I’ve got Mark Selby next and you can’t get much bigger than the world number one so it’s something to look forward to.

PSB: What do you think about the fact that there will be no partitions at the venue in York this year?

RD: There’s no partition in York either? Well there is no partition here and to be honest I’ve never really been put off by what is happening on the table next to me or whatever but you just need to try and keep your concentration levels.

In a way it might help more here than say Newport last year where there was no partition but the tables were further apart. You could almost switch off a little bit in your chair by watching what was going on next to you in there tonight and in the PTCs whereas in Newport it was a bit more difficult. It gives you something to take your mind off if you had played a bad shot and then hopefully you can just flick the switch when it is your shot and you are right back into full concentration.

At the 2011 World Championship qualifiers

I never notice it as a distraction when I’m playing, but it’s a half-decent distraction when you are sat in your chair because if you are getting stuffed, certain players can be irritating to watch and some you prefer to watch when you are playing against them. So if you have got one that is really doing your head in a bit you can watch a game next door.

I don’t know if that’s a good idea for the UK really. I think for Newport where it is a smaller ranking event and the German Masters where it is something new [it is ok]…but for a massive established event like the UK they are fiddling with it a little too much maybe.

PSB: Are you happy so far with the start of your season? In a way the season starts now with the major events coming up…

RD: Well to be honest apart from maybe Australia which was a bit of a nightmare really, ended up costing me money on the trip and Shanghai I didn’t really play too good in the two matches that I lost which was disappointing.

But for me and a lot of the players that I have spoken to we don’t really see the season starting until the UK Championship so hopefully I am starting to peak at the right time so from now until the end of the season I can have a really good crack at the major tournaments and trying to push up to where I once was in the rankings.

PSB: Obviously you are coming up to the point where you didn’t do too well two years ago so you won’t have much to come off from here…

RD: Yeah I haven’t got too much to come off. When they originally changed the system I was probably the worst affected because I had so many points in that early part to protect, semis then quarters, then a final so I had loads of points to protect which maybe put me under a bit of pressure and maybe that’s why I didn’t have a good start to the season last year.

I played a little bit better in patches towards the end but I feel really sharp at the minute and if I’m left a chance in amongst the balls I feel like I am going to take them rather than hoping I was going to take them as I was 8, 10, 12 months ago or whatever.

JW: Have you got much history with Mark Selby? Had any epic encounters?

RD: Well I say epic, I played him in a PTC this year, we’ve played lots of times as juniors and I can’t really remember them all.

The only match that stands out for me when I played against him was one in the Grand Prix when I made the final. I was 3-0 up and looked as if I had thrown the match away as it went 4-4 and he was 50 points in front or something and he went for a red that he only had to drop in, it was frame and match ball and he tried to screw it in and open the balls and gave me a chance to clear up and win on the black. I went on to get to the final there so it was obviously a key match for me and one that I remember.

JW: Does it make any difference to you that he is the world number one now and you are going in as the underdog?

RD: No I don’t think so, not really. A lot of players say it brings added pressure if you are expected to win but I never really suffered with that to be honest. When I was in the 16 playing against qualifiers I never really thought of that, it was just another match and whether you are favourite with the bookies to win or not doesn’t really make any difference.

I just try to put that out of my mind and if I can keep my form good and work hard from now until the UK and put in a performance like I just did there then I have got every chance to have a good run.