Cyprus’s top snooker player Michael Georgiou is hoping to continue his progress up the world rankings, and dreams of representing his country at the sport’s World Cup.
Now set for his fourth consecutive season on snooker’s professional tour, 29-year-old Georgiou has climbed to 90th in the world and has set his sights on a place in the top 64 in the coming season.
Georgiou was born and raised in England but his grandparents are from Cyprus and earlier this year he completed the process of changing his nationality to Cypriot.
“It is something I have wanted to do for a long time,” he said. “I had to wait for my father to get a Cypriot passport first, and once he had done that I could do the same. I finally got it in January this year. I’ve had a lot of support to help me achieve that and I am delighted to have done it.
“Cyprus is such a special place, I visit several times a year as I have a lot of friends and family there. Every time I get a break from the snooker tour I look forward to going there.
“I’m thrilled to have the chance to represent Cyprus on the global snooker tour and hopefully have some success.”
The Snooker World Cup takes place in China in July and the line-up of 24 teams is yet to be announced, so it is not known yet whether Cyprus will have a team in the event for the first time ever.
“It would be fantastic if that happened,” said Georgiou. “Obviously the decision is not up to me but I really hope we can have a team in the World Cup. We have other good players so I believe we would be competitive.”
Once he retires from pro snooker, Georgiou intends to develop the sport in his homeland. “One day I hope to open a snooker academy there and get the grassroots going,” he said. “Earlier this year the European Championship amateur event was staged in Nicosia. I was there as a guest and it all went very smoothly and successfully.”
Georgiou’s highlights last season included reaching the last 16 of the Coral Shoot Out, the last 32 of three other ranking tournaments, and playing matches against two of the sport’s biggest stars.
“I played Ding Junhui in China at the World Open and Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Betway UK Championship,” recalls the London-based player. “Although I lost both of those matches it was great experience for me.
“I have watched Ronnie on television so many times so to be sitting there playing against him in a live TV match, with Steve Davis in the commentary box, I had to pinch myself. That’s the kind of occasion I want to enjoy more and more often.”
The season finished on a low note for Georgiou when he lost 10-8 to Andrew Higginson in the first qualifying round of the Betfred World Championship. “It was a very tough game, and a big one as the difference between winning and losing is £8,000,” he recalls. “I was behind all the way then looked like going 9-9 until Andrew pulled out a great clearance in the last frame.”
But Georgiou, who practises at Frames in Coulsdon with the likes of Kurt Maflin and Jimmy Robertson, is optimistic about his future.
“I am definitely improving as a player by studying the game, working hard and learning from those around me,” he added. “My target for the new season is to get into the world’s top 64 in order to keep my tour place, and to go deep in as many tournaments as I can. Snooker is my life.”
Watch Michael play in the Kaspersky Riga Masters and China Championship qualifiers in Preston – for details click here