Snooker stalwart Lawler hopes to continue his recent resurgence…
Lawler dropped off the tour in 2012 but is now among the world’s top 40
Rod, what have you been up to this summer?
My wife and I went to Turkey for a week to celebrate our 20th anniversary, which was lovely. But us snooker players are no good in the sun so now I’m looking forward to getting back into the club and playing right through. I did a bit of practice before my Australia qualifying match but I was a bit rusty and lost 5-4.
How do you reflect on last season?
I played very well at times, I got to the semi-finals of the Paul Hunter Classic and the last 16 of the International and UK Championship. The second half of the season wasn’t as good as I lost some close matches. Ronnie O’Sullivan beat me 4-2 at the World Grand Prix then I lost 4-2 to Shaun Murphy at the Players Championship and 10-9 in the World qualifiers to Igor Figueiredo. They were all good matches and I could have won all of them, which would have made it into a great season. Generally I was competitive and I’m looking forward to this season now.
Any targets for this season?
I’m within striking range of the top 32 and I will be fighting for that although it will be difficult, and of course being in that bracket doesn’t mean as much as it used to. The standard has gone through the roof in recent years so just to be in the top 40 at my age is a good achievement. The likes of Mark Davis, Fergal O’Brien and Joe Perry are all doing the same – maybe 40 is the new 20! Perhaps we are using our experience and we know how to deal with pressure better than some of the younger lads. My main goal is just to enjoy it because who knows how long I can keep playing for. I was gutted to see two old friends drop off the tour last season – Dave Harold and Marcus Campbell. I try to play with a smile on my face – even if it doesn’t look that way sometimes!
“I try to play with a smile on my face.”
Do you still enjoying practising?
I’ve only ever been one to prepare for specific events by playing for a couple of weeks beforehand. I enjoy having a game with the other lads in my area, though the long hard solo hours are not much fun these days.
You’re a huge Liverpool FC fan, how do you rate their chances this season?
Last season we were handicapped by having no decent striker for long periods when Daniel Sturridge was injured. I hope we will be more competitive in the league this time and back among the top four. We’ve brought in six new players already, and a few of them look like good signings but it won’t be easy to integrate them into the team. We have a lot of tough away fixtures early in the season so we’ll need to be defensive and try to at least get draws in those games, which is not Brendan Rodgers’ style. If we can get through those games we’ll be up there.