Some of you will already know a few facts — maybe more than a few, in some cases — about my career. Here, though, is a few of my own thoughts about me and the game I love, snooker.
Quite simply, it’s my passion. I first picked up a cue as an eight-year-old and it took over my life. Every day I get up and look forward to my next game, whenever that might be, whoever it might be against. I love just about all sports but snooker will always hold an enduring appeal for me. To this day, I still watch as much as I possibly can on the television and You Tube — without quite becoming one-dimensional!
I often get asked what is it like to be on that stage under the lights competing? In short, it’s what we live for. Sure, I love practising on my own to improve. But it's under the lights, on a stage when it matters and where it really counts that the men are sorted from the boys. That is the adrenalin rush, that’s the thrill — especially if you’re involved in a big match in front of a packed crowd.
The head-to-head nature of snooker really appeals to me — for the same reason that I love matchplay golf. I love competing against someone who you know has worked hard like you have. It's just the best type of sporting challenge. You’re not up against a course or the effects of nature but another human being who wants it as bad as you do. That makes for an exciting day-job!
Can anyone reach snooker perfection. I’m not sure. Okay, just about all the top professionals have made 147s but that is a fleeting few minutes of mastery. I think the problem with attaining snooker perfection is that unlike a few other sports, say darts or golf, there is someone else hitting the same balls too. In golf, you always get a chance to correct any mistakes, there and then, but in snooker your next shot could be your last.
Part of the reason why I’ve been keen to have a revamped website is to be able to interact more with snooker followers. For me, fans are the most important people in sport. Without your interest. sportsmen like myself wouldn’t have a job. Nobody would take part in tournaments if there was no one there. It’s you the fans that create the buzz, the excitement. I don’t think I’ll ever lose sight of that.
So what about those things that you may not know about me? Well, I love my golf. I’m off a six-handicap, but I wouldn’t mind polishing up my short game — chipping, especially. I’m a mad Man United fan and get to Old Trafford as often as I can. I live in Cheshire and mornings will often find me walking the dog. I love my music, too. Coldplay are probably my favourite band and I can’t go wrong, either, with a bit of Elton John and Billy Joel. If I’m having an easy day, then a mug of tea and Top Gear re-runs will put a smile on my face. It’s the simple things!
I’m lucky enough that some of the sport’s fans want to talk to me about my career. They like to ask about my toughest opponents, the Crucible and the time that I won the World Championships in 2005. Of course, that one has to be the top of my list in terms of the goals I’ve been fortunate enough to achieve in snooker. I was only 22 at the time and it was my first ever ranking title. In fact, it was the first year that I’d ever won a match at the Crucible. Looking back a few years later and I can tell you, hand-on-heart, for a snooker player it just doesn’t get any better than lifting the World Championship trophy. Here’s hoping it isn’t the only time I’ll get to lay hands on it!
For those of you who want to know a bit more about my career facts, please check out the biography panel on the home page. Or if you want to ask me any questions, please email me at email@example.com