Joe Swail is preparing for a clash with six-time world finalist and fellow seasoned pro Jimmy White at the Indian Open.
Having also qualified for the final stages of last week’s Kaspersky Riga Masters, the ‘Outlaw’ has made a solid start to 2016/17 and was relaxed about the year ahead when we caught up with him…
Joe, after a good start, what are your main ambitions for the season?
“I’ve obviously got a bit of a gap after India. It would be nice to build a wee platform now, knowing I have to wait until September for my next tournament.
“I don’t really want to set targets. I used to years ago, but I know I can beat anyone on my day. If you set targets and don’t achieve them, you feel like you’ve let yourself down. I just want to relax about what happens. If I win great, if not then so be it.”
You had a strong 2015/16 season, notably reaching the semi-final of the Shoot-Out and the last 16 of the UK Championship. Do you think that is something you can build on this year?
“It was only three or four years ago that I felt finished with snooker. I’m more than happy to be having a few good runs a year. I know I’m not the most consistent player in the world, but I also know I’m good enough to go on runs to the later stages of events. I’m just going to have to keep putting in the work.”
You face Jimmy White in next week’s Indian Open in Hyderabad. How excited are you to play him and what sort of game are you expecting?
“He is one of the guys I’ve grown up watching, alongside Alex Higgins. I’ve played him before and it was brilliant. We have a lot of experience between the two of us. It’s hard to get away from the fact that he used to be my idol, but you just have
to concentrate on your own game and hope you get the job done on the table.”
In recent years we have seen a growing number of players in their late 30s and early 40s performing well. Why do you think this seems to be the case?
“I’ve thought a lot about this and I think the amount of new tournaments helps the older players. We can now play through the rustiness. If you have one tournament a month you can get caught out, but the more you play, the more experience can become a factor. I don’t practise as much I used to, but the fact there is less downtime between tournaments means you can stay in the zone.
Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in the coaching side of the game in recent years?
“That’s my main passion now. It’s what reignited my interest in snooker after falling out of love with it. I really enjoy coaching and want to give something back to the game. I’m building up an academy at home and it’s great to help players improve. I enjoy playing on the tour, but the constant travelling and being away from your family can be stressful and you miss home. It’s nice just to be able to get out of bed and go down to the club.”
The Indian Open runs from July 5 to 9 and features top stars including Shaun Murphy, Stuart Bingham and Jimmy White – for the match schedule click here It will be televised on SPN in India, or fans in Europe can watch it on the Eurosport Player – for details click here.