The World Championships have been really exciting so far, it’s making for some great viewing on TV. There’s one person who I wish was there though – and I don’t mean me this time! My wife Tatiana is a professional snooker referee and it’s her dream to make it to the Crucible.
She refereed eight PTC events last year and she should be doing the qualifiers on the main tour, but it’s quite hard to get in and become established.
There’s no doubting her standard of refereeing but she needs to get that break like Michaela Tabb and Zhu Ying have – and they’re both in Sheffield for the Worlds.
Michaela is a very good ref indeed and has been wonderful for the game. She was the first woman to referee and has been an inspiration for others, like Tatiana, to follow in her footsteps. Players at the top level ask me why Tatiana isn’t refereeing in more of the qualifiers and, I know I’m biased, but I honestly don’t know why she isn’t. I really hope to see her at the Crucible one day, although she won’t be allowed to referee my game, for obvious reasons!
The one and only time she refereed a match of mine was during a Plate match at a PTC event in Germany two years ago. It was the first time we’d met and the match lasted only about 25 minutes, but it was obviously enough to make a lasting impression on her! She doesn’t play, but she loves to watch.
She stops short of giving me advice though, apart from to stop going for silly shots. But I still do!
As I said earlier, it’s been exciting stuff so far in Sheffield, with more qualifiers than seeds winning their matches. It does make me laugh though when you hear about “another surprise result”. The tour is so strong these days and I think, especially because of the amount of snooker we’ve been playing these last couple of years, that there really aren’t any great surprises any more. The gap between the top and the bottom is not what it used to be, and the game is better off for that.
I was surprised to hear Ding’s comments after he lost to Ryan Day, saying everything was rubbish, including the crowd. He said people kept shouting but I watched the whole match and I didn’t hear anything. It’s not like him to say things like that, and I can only imagine it’s because of the hurt he’s feeling after losing. He was one of the favourites for the title, after all.
I also thought Judd Trump was lucky to get through. I watched that match with interest because I would have played Judd if I’d beaten Dominic Dale. I know Judd had illness problems, but he is lucky to be through, Dominic was not the same player who played me and didn’t take his chances.
Before I go, I just have to say well done Chelsea, and thank you for one of the best nights ever!
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