Anthony McGill: Behind The Shot

The A-Z of Shaun Murphy

World number six Murphy gives us plenty of insight into his life on and off the table…

Shaun MurphyAbroad – What is your favourite holiday destination?
New York. It’s an amazing city – you walk down the street and feel like you’re on a movie set.

Book – What is the last book you read?
Jimmy White’s new autobiography – it was a really good insight into the life of one of our greatest stars.

Cue – What cue do you use?
I’ve been using a John Parris cue for two years – it’s the nicest cue I’ve ever had.

Day – What happens in a typical working day for you?
I get up when my partner goes off to work, have a coffee and breakfast. I then go to the gym for an hour and a half, come back and then go off to practise until about pm.

Education – How would you get on in a pub quiz?
Strangely enough, my general knowledge is quite good.

Film – What is your favourite film?
I’ve got to say The Shawshank Redemption or the Godfather films. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be The Godfather.

Goals – What are your aims for this season?
Now that I’ve won the Triple Crown, my aims are to keep adding to the trophy cabinet, including another World Championship. I’d also love to do better in the Chinese events; I like them a lot but haven’t done too well in the last few years.

Shaun Murphy

Shaun’s golf handicap is 5

Hobbies – What are your interests away from the table?
When I get the chance, I like to play a bit of golf. If I’ve got a day off and it’s raining outside, you’ll probably find me on the piano at home trying to learn a few songs.

Idols – Who are yours?
My idol growing up was Steve Davis. Nowadays, you have to look no further than Roger Federer. He epitomises professionalism, always says the right thing, represents his sport very well and is a fantastic role model.

Job – What would you be if you weren’t a snooker player?
I’m not 100% sure. I went for a job interview selling cars shortly before I won the World Championship when I was on the verge of giving up the game. I actually got the job but then had to turn it down after winning!

Shaun Murphy

First one to blink gets the teas in.

Kid – Were you a well-behaved child?
It probably won’t surprise many people to know that, apart from the odd bit of knock-and-run and a few practical jokes, I was pretty well-behaved and fairly respectful of teachers and elders.

Lucky – What is the biggest piece of luck you’ve ever had?
I made a 147 in the 2001 Benson & Hedges Championship against Adrian Rosa. I went for a long red that missed the pocket by a mile and scattered the reds. One of them came out of the pack and went up the table, hit the green and went in, leaving me plum on the black. It was nothing like Cliff Thorburn’s, it was the best fluked first red ever.

Moan – What makes you have a good moan?
I have a moan about kicks, big bounces off cushions and the fact that we’re not allowed to practise on the match tables beforehand. I’ve always got a bee in my bonnet about those three.

Nightmare – What is your worst moment on a snooker table?
I remember a situation against Ding in the 2013 Shanghai Masters. I was snookered and tried to get out of it using all kinds of routes – masse, round the house, off the cushions – and I couldn’t get anywhere near the red.

Oops! – What is the clumsiest thing you’ve ever done?
When I was in my early teens, we were going out as a family and I opened the car door just as my Mum was getting in. She hadn’t seen me and I opened the door right onto her forehead.

Picky – Is there anything you are particular about?
I’m quite particular about ironing – I like a good starch and good collars. I’ve been known to screw a shirt up after getting it wrong, put it in the washing machine and start again.

Quiet – How long could you last in a sponsored silence?
With the help of an iPad or iPhone, pretty long, but if I was sat on my own then I think I’d struggle.

Shaun Murphy

With fiancée Elaine

Retirement – What do you plan to do after hanging up your cue?
I think I’m one of those who will carry on playing until I’m very old just because I love it, whether it’s in the Crucible or at the local club. When I do stop, I’d love to look into commentary or some analytical work and always have a hand in snooker somewhere.

Shopping – Where do you buy your clothes from?
I’m a bit of a polo shirt man so Ralph Lauren for those and jeans. If I see a nice suit anywhere, I’ll buy one no matter where it is or what make.

TV – What are your favourite programmes?
At the moment: Prison Break, any form of sport and of course snooker.

Unforgettable – What is your greatest ever moment on a snooker table?
It would have to be the win at the Crucible in 2005, but the Masters win this year was on par with that because I’m certainly a better player ten years down the line.

Venue – What is your favourite venue to play at?
There are bigger and better venues but the Crucible has the one thing you can’t buy – history. It’s our Lords, our Wimbledon and our Wembley.

Wheels – What car do you drive?
I have a Range Rover Vogue – I bought it recently after the Masters win as a ‘well done’. It’s not easy to park but apart from that, it’s a good car.

Shaun Murphy

In action at the Crucible, his favourite venue.

X – If you could kiss any girl in the world, who would it be?
Other than my fiancée, it would have to be Jennifer Aniston. I’m a massive Friends fan.

YIKES! – Do you have any phobias?
I’m absolutely terrified of snakes. If I see one, it sends a shiver up my spine and I don’t know why. It’s probably the only thing me and Indiana Jones have in common.

Zzzzz – What puts you to sleep?
Any time you have to listen to Willie Thorne talk about a flat back pack, or when Dennis starts going on about Cliff Thorburn coming over from Canada. Otherwise, a nice warm fire, a couple of beers and that’s me gone.

Interview by Jonathan Davies

Watch Shaun defend his Masters crown at Alexandra Palace in January – click here for ticket details