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How O'Sullivan helped Brecel get the Belgian Bullet's career back on cue

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Luca Brecel and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Image credit: Eurosport

ByEurosport
15/06/2020 at 16:08 | Updated 15/06/2020 at 16:10

Luca Brecel has revealed how he decided to alter his technique after listening to Ronnie O'Sullivan discuss his cue action on Eurosport.

Brecel lifted only his second major title in the sport with victory at the Championship League last week coming three years after he claimed the 2017 China Championship with a 10-5 final victory over Shaun Murphy.

The 'Belgian Bullet' has dropped to world number 37 in the sport's rankings, but admits he is more confident in himself these days as he prepares for an assault at the World Championship which is due to begin on 31 July at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

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Brecel beat 5-4 O'Sullivan in the quarter-finals of his run to victory at the China Championship in Guangzhou, but admits the five-times world champion's work as a pundit has been more important.

“My manager Django (Fung) first suggested that I should change that," said Brecel on the World Snooker Tour website. "Then I saw Ronnie O’Sullivan talking about me on Eurosport, saying I needed to be more compact in my cue action. That’s what convinced me to change.

"To me, the bridge now feels very short, though some players might still think it is long. I make less mistakes since I have made that change."

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The 25-year-old, who was undefeated in nine matches at the Championship League, has been as high as 11 in the world rankings, but losing his cue during a trip to China in November 2017 and shoulder problems helped in stalling his career.

“When I had a run of bad results, people must have thought I wasn’t practising,” said Brecel.

“But it wasn’t like that. I played well for a while after Guangzhou. And then losing the cue and the shoulder problem really set me back. I needed to have physiotherapy on the shoulder and it gradually got better month by month. It is fine now and I am happy with my cue so there are no excuses.”

Brecel played with two cues during the Masters in 2018, but seems to be firmly back on track with his new stick as he bids to make up for lost time eight years after becoming the youngest player in history to qualify for the Crucible aged 17 years and 45 days in 2012.

"Ever since China in 2017 I have waited for that feeling of holding a trophy again, it has taken a long time", said Brecel, who finished off his title-clinching 2-2 draw with Ben Woollaston at the Championship League by knocking in a brilliant 111 break.

"I felt great for the whole week, I had so much confidence. I got lucky in the end that Ben missed a red early in the last frame, because he was playing so well and if that had gone in perhaps he would have cleared up. There was a lot of pressure so it was a big moment for me to make a century.

“I am a better player now than I was three years ago. I have more experience. In the past I don’t think I would have made that century in the last frame of a final.

"Even when I won in China I wasn’t practising that hard and I didn’t have the confidence I have now. Now I am going to the club every day, working hard and I have a sense of freedom.

"I would love to finish the season at the Crucible. I have been there four times before and not won a match but next time I will be well prepared.”

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