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Clarke’s Confidence Boosted By Lifestyle Changes
Jamie Clarke has strong ambitions for 2023/24 and has worked on his fitness over the summer, which he believes will help his performances on the table.
Away from the green baize, the 28-year-old Welshman has seen significant changes in his personal life. Clarke married partner Marci in Cardigan on June 15th.
“It was beautiful, we had the perfect weather with all of our family and friends around us. It was just the perfect day,” he said. “We’ve been together five years and we are very happy. Once the day was over, we looked back with extremely fond memories.”
Another key change came when the world number 54 decided to lose weight after seeing a YouTube clip of his match against Mark Williams at last season’s UK Championship. Though he scored a notable victory that day, he admits he “couldn’t watch it back” because of the way he looked at the table.
“I knew I had to make some lifestyle changes,” he admits “I was playing well but I couldn’t carry on the way that I was. Despite being a professional snooker player, I would say that I lack discipline, I’m quite relaxed – so I made the decision to hire a personal trainer.
“He’s been great and patient with me. I’ve never been into my exercise but eight months later, I’m going for a run nearly every day, going to the gym as much as I can. My diet is regulated and consistent as well.
“I can’t lie, I still dislike the training and the running. But I now fit into my clothes better, I feel better afterwards. It will be interesting seeing if I go deep in any tournaments now that my stamina has improved.
“I hope it has an impact on my snooker but I’m not doing it for that reason. Jamie Jones does it as well, I know him and he feels better within himself. I think that is the main reason people do it.”
Moving forward to the current campaign, Clarke has ambitions to break through the rankings – with a particular focus on getting into the latter rounds at the Crucible.
“My biggest breakthrough has been getting through to the last 16 at the 2020 World Championship and I should’ve been in the last eight.
“I’ve proven to myself that I can compete against the best and beat the best. Even when they make five centuries against me like Mark Allen did that year .
“Because I’m fitter, I’ll be practising a lot more too. I’m settled down with my wife and have a great private life here in Llanelli. As long as I train hard, there is no reason why I can’t break through and have a great year.
“At my level of ranking, there are so many talented players. All you need is a click and you can go flying.”
World Champion Luca Brecel called practice ‘overrated’ in a recent interview which you can watch here. But Clarke knows he has to put in the hours on the baize.
“If you’re as talented as Luca is, maybe practice is overrated!” he said. “However, practising more may impact a player like me in a different way. It is probably going to be detrimental if I practise for the eight or nine hours a day that everyone used to as kids. If I use my time more proactively and perform better this season, I want to see if that makes an impact.”
Clarke’s next challenge is a first round clash with Neil Robertson at the Cazoo British Open in Cheltenham on September 25, on the opening day of the tournament when all of the world’s top 16 will be in action.
“I will prepare for Neil in the same way I always prepare against the big players,” he added “You don’t get many chances against the top players so I need to be ruthless.
“I’ve proven before that I can play against the top players so I will keep trying and see what happens.”
You can buy tickets to watch Clarke in the Cazoo British Open here.