Advani to play in Indian Open, Worlds; gives up Tour card

Advani to play in Indian Open, Worlds; gives up Tour card

Torn between two formats, ace Indian cueist Pankaj Advani today decided to chose billiards over professional snooker and confirmed his participation in the Indian Open and the World Championships.

"Finally I have decided to play in the Indian wild card qualifier to be played in Pune (from September 15-19), which means I am going to play the Indian Open and the World Billiards which happens immediately after. But before that I have to qualify in the qualifiers," Advani told reporters here.

He further said, "If I am playing on Indian wild card, I have to let go my professional tour card, which means I would not be playing in that circuit anymore."
Advani said he had to take this decision because he wanted to excel in both snooker and billiards.

"I took this decision because I missed billiards and my family. I wouldn't have been able to play billiards if I am based in England for six months."

"My sole objective has been to excel in both sports not just in one, and that will be possible if I am based in India," the 10-time world champion added.

Asked what it means emotionally to give up professional snooker for now, Advani said as a non-professional it would "hit him" watching Indian cueists playing the sport.

"As a non-professional it will hit me then, that I am not playing anymore along with them (Indian players)," he added.

However, Advani said he enjoyed his snooker playing against top international players and learnt the nuances of the sport.

"I had good results. I enjoyed myself and learnt a lot - sportsmanship, the approach to the game, conditions - everything was top class and that's what I wanted - to improve as a player. I am glad I could achieve it in my own way," he said.

Asked whether he would revoke his decision to do away with snooker in future, Advani said in next three to four years he may consider playing professional snooker.

"May be in next three to four years I may go back, (but) not in the near future for sure," he said.

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