The talented 23-year-old from Glasgow on his snooker ambitions and why he’s wary of social media.
Anthony you had a good run to the semi-finals of the Riga Open this month, how much confidence has that given you?
A lot, because I played really well and I had a tough draw. I beat Graeme Dott, Judd Trump, Matt Selt and Fergal O’Brien, which were all great wins. It’s a good sign that I can beat guys like that. The match against Dott was very high quality in terms of the safety play. I felt that if I can go toe-to-toe with someone like Graeme then it will stand me in good stead. I almost won the semi-final as well but lost 4-3 to Mark Allen. Those guys are the kind of players I want to compete with.
Do you enjoy the European Tour events?
I love them. Even if I’d lost first round in Riga I would have enjoyed it because it was such a beautiful city. Fürth was great as well. You don’t get places like that back home. And the crowds are so enthusiastic, which all the players love.
What are your ambitions for this season?
I’d like to keep winning matches and get into the top 30. I’m not setting the world alight but my ranking has improved each season and I feel as if I’m improving as a player. It’s so difficult to make a big leap or to do something extraordinary. Judd Trump did it a few years ago when he won the China Open and got to the world final, but he’s an exceptional talent. If I can just keep moving forward year by year, that’s all I can ask for.
Is there any frustration that you haven’t made that big leap yet?
No, because I didn’t expect much when I started. I’m exceeding my expectations as it is, and the standard is too tough to expect to wipe the floor with everyone.
What aspects of your game do you want to improve?
My brain, in terms of playing the right shots at the right time. That comes with experience. Sometimes you play a silly shot and it costs you at this level. I’m happy with my safety game. I’d like to be scoring a bit better.
Alan McManus is a regular practice partner and travel companion, has he helped you a lot?
Yes, I practise with him at least twice a week and his knowledge of the game is scary, second to none. He passes a lot of that on to me and I’m just trying to store as much as I can. He has had great results over the last couple of years. I never expect him to lose because sometimes I don’t see how he can. He might not score as heavily as he used to but his safety and his snooker brain are unbelievable. He’s a big inspiration to me and the other young Scottish players.
During the World Championship, Alan said that young players spend too much time on Twitter and Facebook and not enough focussing on snooker. Would you agree with that?
Yes. I used to be guilty of that myself, but I’ve really cut down. I wasn’t as bad as some of the other boys, who can’t do anything without letting the world know about it. They really need to put their phones down and get on the practice table.
You came off Twitter for a while, was that the reason?
Yes, every time I wasn’t doing anything I’d get my phone out and look at it. It can get time consuming if you get drawn into it, and that time could be spent exercising or practising. I’m back on it now but I’ll be careful and make sure it doesn’t take over my life. When Steve Davis or Stephen Hendry were in their primes, there’s no chance you would have ever seen them near a computer.