Shaun Murphy has returned to the practice table and is looking forward to the new season with relish, after conceding he had fallen out of love with snooker.
Murphy’s troubles through the coronavirus pandemic were well documented, as he struggled to come to terms with long periods of isolation, but his season ended on a positive note as he made it to the final of the World Championship.
His defeat to Mark Selby at the Crucible left Murphy feeling upbeat about the future, and he has enjoyed a positive summer away from the table with his family.
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The new season kicks off this month and Murphy is looking forward to competitive action in the 2021/22 campaign.
“It has been a great summer break for me,” Murphy wrote in his World Snooker blog. “I have to say I fell out of love with snooker for a large part of last year, until the World Championship.
The difficulties I had with travel from Ireland and my poor form on the table have been well documented. However, with a bit of light shining through at the end of the coronavirus tunnel, things appear to be on the up.
“I started practicing again last week for the upcoming season.
“It’s been a couple of months since I last hit a ball in the World Championship final and the first day back was ropey. The stance of a snooker player is a peculiar position to put your body in. You are stretching and twisting, so I was a little bit stiff and my neck protested for a while. After that, I was straight back into it and I actually really enjoyed it.
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“When you are genuinely looking forward to it and itching to get the cue back out, you know it is time to get back to it. I had that feeling and I can’t wait to start the season.
“They say sport is all about momentum and snooker is no different in that regard. I’ll be looking to carry the momentum I found at the Crucible, even though I lost in the final against Mark.
I want to keep pushing on and hopefully get an early win in and secure my place at the Champion of Champions.
Snooker was one of the first sports to emerge from the hiatus caused by the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with the sport adapting by putting on events behind closed doors in secure bubbles.
Murphy feels snooker won many fans for how it adapted and expects the new supporters will stay with the sport.
“I think the World Championship could have really been a significant moment for the sport,” Murphy wrote. “To lead the way in this pandemic, as snooker has, will hopefully have brought new supporters to the game and maybe even to me. I’m very thankful for that. I can’t wait to get back to the tour, especially as it looks like restrictions are beginning to lift in the UK.”
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