No easy matches, especially at the Masters

Here we are back at Ally Pally! It has only been a few weeks since I was last here, but it’s always good to be back.

I was here for the darts last month, when Kevin Painter invited me down for his first-round match in the PDC World Championship.

It’s always a fantastic atmosphere and, although a darts crowd and a snooker crowd are two very different things, I see no reason why the excitement levels can’t be just the same this week.

It’s already been a cracking start to the tournament. There were some horrible match-ups when the draw was made, like Neil Robertson v Ding Junhui, and John Higgins v Ali Carter. As it was, Neil and John both came through those tough encounters, but they both had to overturn deficits to do so.

I’d say that my first-round match, against my fellow Living Snooker blogger Stuart Bingham, is not among the easiest out there! He’s been in great form this season, and has had a couple of big wins against me.

But in a tournament like this, where the top 16 players in the world are brought together under one roof, there is no such thing as an easy match.

All the players are world-class, they’ve been there and done it, so they fully know what to expect. And I believe a tournament like this brings out the very best in you, and everyone seems to try that little bit harder.

I’ve been lucky to win the Masters twice, it’s a tournament that has been good to me and I would love to win a third.

But I’ll have to improve on my recent performances. Last year wasn’t so good, I went out in the second round against Shaun Murphy, and the year before that, as defending champion, I lost in the first round to Mark King.

So there’s definitely room for improvement in terms of recent results at the Masters, but I feel like my game is in great shape at the moment. I won the UK Championship without playing my A game, and then won the Munich Open in Germany a couple of weeks ago in complete contrast, as I feel like I played very well indeed.

Everything seemed to click together and I played some good, attacking snooker. I felt like my old self again, and my confidence is higher than it has been for a long time.

It will be a great game against Stuart, and I’m not looking past that. But it would be great to be back in that final again . . .

Read more Living Snooker blogs.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @markjesterselby



If you enjoy it, remember to share it with other sports fans

Got any comments then let us know.


All comments are reviewed before publishing, you will be notified by email once your comments are live.

Newsletter sign up