Another month in the life of Matthew Selt…
Earlier this month I played in the European Tour event in Rotterdam. In my first match I played Peter Lines and won 4-2, which was the best match I have played in a long time. I had a 142 and a couple of other breaks over 50. It was a very clean match without many errors. Peter is one of the top ten players on tour on the tactical side and that’s also one of my strengths so it was a good strategic battle. Then I lost 4-3 to Marcus Campbell in another very good and close match. I was 3-0 down and came back to 3-3 but he just got the better of the last frame.
Before that I spent a few weeks working hard on my game. I spent a week in Manchester doing solo practice on Shaun Murphy’s table at Urmston Conservative Club. Then I had three days in Sheffield playing at the Star Academy, either on my own or with Aditya Mehta and Chris Keogan. You only get out what you put into this game and I saw the results in Rotterdam because I played some very good snooker.
I sometimes get asked what attributes are most important in snooker, and in my view the most vital thing is to be able to score heavily. Players who make a lot of big breaks will always have the chance to win tournaments. Neil Robertson has proved that, so has Judd Trump and of course Stephen Hendry. Neil can barely escape from a one-cushion snooker, but what he does have is a lot of fire-power, huge amounts of bottle and the best temperament on the planet. There are quite a few better all-round players than him, but he is number one in the world because of those strengths. That’s why he’s getting to virtually every final at the moment. You can’t teach someone to have bottle, it’s either there or it isn’t.
I didn’t really follow the Australian Goldfields Open because I was so sick not to be there. I got to the quarter-finals in the previous two years and it is one of my favourite tournaments, I love the crowd, the conditions and the town of Bendigo. I hope we go back there because Australia remains a relatively untapped territory for snooker. I know it comes down to supply and demand so I just hope there is enough demand for snooker there for it to succeed. We’ve done well in Germany because the fans love it there – the Tempodrom is packed with 2,000 people every day. I don’t agree with players who don’t enter the overseas events and I know Neil and Mark Selby had a dig at them in Australia. I realise it’s a 24-hour flight but we are professionals and a few years ago we only had six ranking events. The likes of Neil, Mark, Shaun, Peter Ebdon and Ding (although I know he couldn’t make it to Australia this time) are great ambassadors for our game playing in all the major events and we need more like them.
I was really pleased to see the ranking event in India announced and I hope all of the players will enter. I know billiards is huge in India and if Pankaj Advani and Aditya can keep doing well then hopefully snooker can reach a similar level. I would love to qualify and see a new country. I’ve heard they have some great golf courses there although I’ll need to bring my Galvin Green waterproofs in case I sweat too much. I might give Jeev Milkha Singh a call and see if he fancies nine holes.
How many 28-year-olds can say they have been to the places I’ve been to thanks to snooker? And I get paid for it as well. A few players moan about prize money but the rewards are there if you win matches. We have got the right people at the helm now.
The one thing I don’t agree with, as I have said before, is the change to the round structure for Shanghai and the World Championship which means that players ranked 33-48 now have to win three matches to get to the venue. I know there are more players on the tour now but in my view it should be the players at the bottom who have to play the extra match. The sooner we get to a flat 128 draw for all events the better. You still end up with the best players in the final – look at Bulgaria and Wuxi which were both John Higgins v Neil Robertson.
I recently bought a Smart Car – I wanted a Bugatti but I can’t afford it yet. I was at an event in Austria and loads of people have them there. They look a bit funny but when you drive 30,000 miles a year you have to think about petrol costs, insurance and that kind of thing. The Smart Car does 100 miles to the gallon so I can drive from Romford to Manchester for £15.
I’m now looking forward to the Shanghai and India qualifiers and the Bluebell Wood Open in Doncaster (tickets available here), hoping to play more good snooker and get results.
All the best until next time.