Up-and-coming German player Lukas Kleckers has gained a place on the pro tour for the first time after coming through Q School last week. So we asked German Eurosport commentator Rolf Kalb how Kleckers’ presence on tour might help develop snooker in his homeland.
Rolf shares a joke with Eurosport presenter Matt Smith
Rolf, how pleased are you to see Kleckers qualify through Q School and become the first German player to earn a tour spot since 2013?
I’m very happy for Lukas to qualify through Q School. He didn’t have the best of seasons this year. That makes his success even sweeter. And it is an inspiration for others, as it shows that the hard work and commitment pay off.
When did you first hear about Kleckers?
That must have been six or seven years ago. But it took some time until I first saw him playing. It is his spirit which impresses me.
He obviously played very well in Q School, do you think that will give him confidence going into the new season?
Of course he should take confidence out of this. We all know that Q School is a very tough way to earn a tour spot. You don’t make it through Q School just by accident but by performance and excellence. But he is very well aware that just to stay on tour is a harder job. So I’m convinced that he will start the season with the right attitude. Now the next step has to follow.
If there is a successful German player on the tour, to what extent do you think that will create more interest in snooker in Germany, especially among the media?
Kleckers, age 20 from Essen, will make his pro tour debut in the coming season
First of all Lukas’ success is an inspiration for other young players in Germany, as one of them made it. That shows them what is possible and of course it will make them work even harder. Of course a successful German player on the Tour will also create more media interest. Snooker has reached mainstream media already in Germany, but somebody like Lukas could give that another boost. We have seen that in darts, where a successful German player (Max Hopp) was responsible for much bigger media interest.
Are you aware of any other German young talented players coming through?
Of course there are other German talents like Felix Frede and Simon Lichtenberg, but this year’s Q School has shown that they are not yet there. Also there are a few other young prospects in Germany, aged 11 to 14. But we have to wait and see whether they can continue on the right path. Having Lukas as a role model can only help them to develop.