Londoner who regained his place on the tour via Q School.
How are you finding life back on the World Snooker Tour so far?
I am really enjoying it so far. I achieved what was a dream of mine – to qualify and compete in China which was certainly an experience. There is a different feel to the tour compared to how it was when I initially turned professional in 2008, especially with the number of events and the two year tour card. It helps knowing that there is not a huge amount of pressure on your shoulders in the first year year, in order to retain your place for the following season.
What are your hopes and expectations for the next two years on the tour?
I am trying my best not to hope for anything. Of course we all want to win, but I am literally taking this season one match at a time. My first spell as a professional six years ago was one to forget, but I still try to use that as a learning curve to improve myself mentally. The less pressure I can put on myself then the happier I will be going into a match.
When did you first start playing snooker?
According to my parents, I showed interest in the game when I was two years old. When I turned eight, they decided to take me to a local snooker club. Former professional Mehmet Husnu (a friend of the family) was my coach back then and provided me with the foundation to improve my game.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
Tough question! I guess as a player there will always be room for improvement. If I notice I am not playing certain shots as well as I can in a match, then I will go back to the practice table and work intensely on that certain shot until I am comfortable with it. I am quite happy with my technique, I feel it can get me through certain situations in tournaments. I can be quite patient, which helps.
Where do you practise, who with and how many hours a day?
I practise down in Frames Sports Bar in Coulsdon, Surrey. The manager Tony and all the staff in there are incredibly helpful, supportive and friendly and I do owe them a huge thank you for allowing me to base myself there. I wouldn’t have got through Q school if it wasn’t for them. Tony Drago, Marco Fu and Matthew Day all play there as well so there is always a game available in the club. The amount of hours vary depending on whether I am playing somebody or doing solo practice. If I have been at work I can only manage a few hours in the evening.
How do you think you will manage to combine snooker with your ‘day-job’?
I like to keep busy which is lucky. I work with my uncle in his coffee shop (The Teapot, Forest Hill) and it is very enjoyable, to the point where it doesn’t even feel like a job. It does help me clear my mind from snooker which I find helpful. Being family, he is very supportive with my snooker so if I have a tournament approaching we will work out days which need covering, which allows me to prepare myself fully.
Who are your snooker idols?
Growing up, I would always enjoy watching Jimmy White and Ronnie O’Sullivan. I thought the pace they played at was fantastic to watch, and the older I got the more amazed I would be as I developed more of an understanding for the game.
What are your hobbies and interests away from snooker?
I enjoy going to the gym, reading and seeing friends. I am lucky to live in London as it is a brilliant place to explore. I have lived here for 26 years but I am still discovering new parts to visit and things to do. I think Borough Market has to be my favourite day out and I recommend it to anybody who is in London over a weekend.