Shaun Murphy is heading into next week’s Dafabet Masters off the back of a superb first half of the 2017/18 World Snooker Tour season.
Murphy puts his form down to persistence which has seen him recover from two final defeats early on in the campaign, to pick up his first ever Champion of Champions title, thanks to a stunning 10-8 defeat of Ronnie O’Sullivan last November.
Overall the Magician has reached four finals so far this season. He lost out in showpiece ties at the China Championship against Luca Brecel and the Paul Hunter Classic where he faced Michael White, before recording his win at the Champion of Champions. Murphy then went on to make a third UK Championship final, but was this time on the wrong end of a 10-5 scoreline against O’Sullivan.
Murphy said: “I think it is a nod to perseverance. You have to keep going. If you are going through hell then keep battling away. Losing isn’t easy and especially in finals. As a sportsperson you will always have to feel that horrible sense of loss more often than you will the elation of winning. So, if you do get that moment to lift a trophy and see the confetti bomb with the family there, then you really do have to enjoy it and celebrate as it doesn’t come along that often.
“There’s no doubt it has been the best first half to a season I have ever had in my life. Of course it would’ve been nice to have won more of the finals I’ve been in so far this season. One out of four is a lower strike rate then I’d have hoped for. But without being too critical it has been a great start to the season. I think whatever I have been doing is working. I’m not entirely sure what that is! It is hard to repeat a winning formula when you don’t know what it is. But whatever it is I am loving it and enjoying my snooker.”
Murphy won the Masters in 2015
Murphy is now hoping to carry his momentum into the first event of the calendar year at Alexandra Palace, where he faces a tough opening round clash with Ali Carter.
“The Masters is one of the three marquee events for our sport. It is going to be a big crowd for every match and the whole event is a great occasion in our capital city. I don’t have a very good record against Ali and he is a bit of a bogey player for me. I’ve prepared well over Christmas and am going to give it my all,” said the 2015 Masters Champion. “I’m definitely in the legacy building stage of my career now. I can sleep easy knowing I have won the Triple Crown and not many others have. It would be lovely to win them again. I relished every second of the final in York. I want to be involved in more of those occasions and hopefully next time, I can come out on top.”
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