Shaun Murphy is targeting victory at next month’s English Open in Barnsley, which would leave him as the only player capable of securing the £1 million bonus attached to the Home Nations series.
The 2005 World Champion appreciates the size of the task for any player to achieve the pay out, which comes with winning all four Home Nations events. However, he admits he would relish the thrill of being the last person left in the hunt.
Murphy said: “I think the buzz would be phenomenal. To be the only one out of the 128 players who can go for the million pounds would be amazing, but whoever it is has an incredibly difficult task to even get close.
“If anybody were to manage it, then it would be some story. It would be the biggest story that we have ever had in snooker and a feat that nobody would be likely to ever repeat. It’s a very tough task and highly unlikely, but not impossible.”
Murphy has got his 2017/18 season off to a strong start, but has missed out on silverware so far. The Magician reached two ranking finals across two continents in the space of five days at the China Championship and the Paul Hunter Classic. But the world number five lost to Luca Brecel in Guangzhou, then travelled to Furth in Germany where he again fell short at the final hurdle, this time against Michael White.
“I’ve reached the stage in my life and stage in my career where I am now able to get over defeats a lot quicker than I used to,” said Murphy, whose first son Harry was born a year ago. “I think becoming a father has changed my perspective on pretty much everything and that includes snooker. Two finals in five days is very good going and shows great consistency. I also have to reflect on the fact I lost to two very good players who were in form. Luca beat Ronnie O’Sullivan on his way to the title and Michael beat Mark Selby.
“I’ve brought a bit more consistency to my game by practising more regularly with other players. I’ve been playing a lot recently with Matthew Selt and Ben Woollaston. I’ve also been over to the academies to play against some of the young Chinese players. I had previously been doing a lot of work, but only by myself, which isn’t the same as playing snooker against another competitor and that is what I needed.”
You can see if Murphy can take the first step towards £1 million when the 2017/18 Home Nations Series starts at the Barnsley Metrodome with the English Open from 16th to 22nd October. Go to www.worldsnooker.com/tickets or call 0871 620 7052.
Home Nations series 2017/18
English Open – Barnsley Metrodome. October 16-22
Northern Ireland Open – Waterfront Centre, Belfast. November 20-26
Scottish Open – Emirates Arena, Glasgow. December 11-17
Welsh Open – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. February 26 to March 4