I’ve really been looking forward to the PTC Grand Finals in Ireland. I’ve had a quiet few months snooker-wise, but I’ve been very excited about this trip during that time and I can’t wait to be involved.
I’ve just been watching it on TV and it looks a great set-up with plenty of faces in the crowd. I fly out at 6.45 on Wednesday morning and play Robert Milkins in my first-round match on Thursday – he’s probably playing as good as he’s ever done and is at his highest-ever ranking, and has been getting results in the TV stages, so it’s a difficult tie, but one I’m relishing.
It’s definitely a good tournament to be involved in and there’s a very strong field. We’ve been playing all year towards this and some players have had to start from scratch to get there. For me, being ranked 50-odd, it’s a great achievement.
All matches are going to be difficult, there are no easy games at this level so I’m not bothered who I play. I’m aware that I could play Ding Junhui in the next round and that would be a great match, he’s one of the very best players in the world. But I have to get past Robert first.
I think any player who says they don’t look at the draw is fibbing a bit. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself, but it is instinct to have a peep at the draw, even though it’s also pointless. You have to take one match at a time.
My game is in great shape at the moment, I feel very at ease around the table and am hitting the white well. I’m confident of putting on a good performance.
I’m excited about seeing Ireland again, too. I’ve been only once before, but it’s a beautiful country, rather similar to Scotland with some awesome scenery. The people have a great reputation too, they’re kind, hospitable and enjoy a good time.
After Galway, I’m off to China. It will be my first time there and, from what a few people have told me, I will be in for a bit of a culture shock, they do things a little bit differently over there.
I’m going to take in some of the sights, like the Great Wall and Tiananmen Square, but it’s going to be interesting to play snooker in that environment. You keep hearing how enthusiastic they are over there, so I’d like to see that first-hand.
As I said, I’ve not had a lot on these past few months, having not done as well as I’d have liked in the qualifiers. But the trip to Galway this week and then taking part in the China Open will more than make up for that. It will be a nice couple of weeks.
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