'I am steadily moving in the right direction'

'I am steadily moving in the right direction'

Pankaj Advani may the undisputed flag-bearer of Indian cue sports but when it comes to snooker specifically, Aditya Mehta can definitely be counted as a lead actor.

Having played second fiddle to Advani for the better part of his career, Mehta has made some superb strides over the last 3-4 years in snooker, including some fine victories over the eight-time world champion himself to announce his arrival.

The Mumbaikar, who won the snooker singles gold at the World Games in Cali this July, has been dishing out some impressive shows in the grueling Pro Tour too, recently sealing a spot at marquee International Championship for the second straight time.

In a chat with Deccan Herald, the 27-year-old talks about the next week’s Indian Open, his chances and plans ahead.

Excerpts…

How does it feel to be leading India's charge at the Indian Open?

It’s a fantastic feeling to be involved in a professional event on home soil. Everyone is very eager to see how it goes and I’m confident of my chances. I've had some good results recently and I hope to keep the momentum going.

But things may not be that easy as you've been handed a tough opener against 2002 World Champion Peter Ebdon. Your thoughts.

It’s going to be very tough match. I haven’t faced him in a match but played him in practice and I know how tough a competitor he is. I admire him as a player and a person but I hope to get the better of him this time.

You've had a good year so far. You won the Team silver and singles bronze at the Asian Indoor Games and the gold at the World Games.

The Games are always special to me. I have always done well at the Asian Games and now to get the World Games gold means a lot to me and my family. It was an important moment in my career and has given me a huge boost in confidence. I'm just so lucky to be where I am today and have such great experiences in my life. I can’t ask for much more. I just want to keep doing what I do and see where life takes me.

Your thoughts on your performance in the Pro Tour specifically...

It’s been a good start this season. I got some very important wins under my belt. But the season is young and the next few months -- till December 15 – is going to be very important. Overall, over the years, the progress has been steady. Slow at times, tough sometimes. But, I’m surely moving in the right direction. 

Last year you impressed everyone with a run up to the last-16 of the International Championship. You've qualified this year too and do you see an encore from you?
I do fancy my chances, not just at the International Championship, but at any event. Last year was a major step forward for me and I’m looking to better that this season.

Your goals for the year ahead...

Keep moving up the rankings and to finish in the top 60 and improve from the performances of last year. 

India is hosting a pro-ranking event for the first time. Do you think it could act as a catalyst for the sport, as it happened in China?


It’s a dream come true and it will definitely change the perception of snooker in India. It has the ability to spark a lot of interest in the game and who knows where it will go. We just have to wait and see. But I’m very positive about the future of snooker in India and I’m sure the fans will love it!

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