Murphy lays down the law

Murphy lays down the law

Snooker:

Murphy lays down the law
Within moments of striking a conversation with Shaun Murphy, you begin to realise how talented he his. A wonderful talker with an almost scientific understanding of snooker, ‘The Magician’ keeps you totally engrossed. Just like he had the gathering at the Crucible in 2005.

Ranked 48 in the world then and given very little chance, the baby-faced Murphy had everyone in daze when he went on to win the World Championship, becoming the lowest ranked player to lay his hands on the cherished prize and the second youngest winner after the great Stephen Hendry, who won it for the first time in 1990. He was also the second qualifier to achieve the feat since Terry Griffiths who won in 1979.

“Eleven years ago, I was a very young man, very inexperienced about life, the world and snooker,” Murphy gushed. “It was nice two weeks in April and May in 2005, I did enough to win the World Championship. It has been a phenomenal 11 years since, it has been a great, great time playing snooker, travelling the world, playing this beautiful game, representing world snooker and try my best to be part of the snooker revolution.”

The 33-year-old Murphy, gifted with the classic British sense of humour that makes him an endearing personality, is a treat for the eyes when he’s on song at the table. Admired for his straight cue action and long potting, the James Bond and Superman fan has fired the maximum 147-point break a stunning five times — including three in a single season.

“You need a lot of things — you need a bit of luck, balls need to be in the right position, you have to play 36 perfect shots, not as easy as it looks,” he said.

“That probably is the hardest sporting feat, I think it is harder than shooting a 50 in golf, it is harder than a 9-darter in dart. I think it is harder than whatever the equivalent is in cricket, six sixes in an over. It is very difficult. You need a bit of a luck, lots of skill and someone up in the sky to be smiling down on you.”

Murphy, who analyses the game to the detail of how the balls would behave at a certain temperature and the way the green felt plays to different conditions, is also an accomplished piano player and a golfer. While he loves playing numbers of Elton John, The Beatles and Coldplay, he hones his skills at the course whenever he’s not playing on the circuit.

“The piano is something else that I enjoy doing when I have time. The piano is nice to play when we have people around the house, like a dinner party or a private gathering or just me on my own. Playing the same old tunes that I can play. It’s something that I enjoy and time just flies when I play the piano. It’s very relaxing but sometimes frustrating hobby.

“I have a passion for golf. In life it is important to have other interests outside of your job or your main passion. My main passion is snooker, I am lucky that not only is my passion but also my job. But when I am not playing snooker, I play snooker most of the time. Golf and snooker are similar, similar technical sports,” added Murphy, thrilled at coming to India.

Over the last decade, snooker has seen a huge boom in markets like China with talented cueists like him at the forefront of it. Murphy hoped the boon produces a champion from countries apart from the UK that would actually drive the sport further.

“It’s been marvellous to see the expansion of snooker. Now we have tour full of international players, we have lot of Chinese players and some Indian players. When you go to the amateur tour, it’s got a great number of international players. The growth of snooker has been very very healthy. The tour keeps expanding with new tournaments every year at newer territories. What we need is a country having a champion of its own, something like China. We need an Indian player to come through and win a ranking event, a German player to win a ranking event. Then you would see snooker take off in these countries.”

While the newer crop is making snooker very competitive now, Murphy said his goal remains to to win another world championship after having ended runner-up twice.

“My game is very strong even now. Two years ago I was three frames from winning my second world title. Everybody who have won the world championship say that they don’t have the pressure of winning it again. But we all want to win it, whether you’ve won it 5, 6, or 7 times. Hopefully, I’ve got another good ten years at the top of my game where I can give it another shot.”
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