Ken Doherty heads to the Ruhr Open in Germany targeting “one big week” which could boost him back up the world rankings.
Former World Champion Doherty has gradually slipped down the list in recent years and now stands 47th, having failed to reach the quarter-finals of an event carrying ranking points since the 2013 Welsh Open.
But the Dubliner, who turned 46 last month, believes that Kyren Wilson’s victory at the Shanghai Masters underlines the depth of talent on the circuit.
Teaming up with Fergal O’Brien at the World Cup in China in June
“There are so many good players on the tour and we are all waiting for that one big week,” said Doherty. “There are a lot of guys capable of doing something similar. Kyren jumped from 54th to 22nd and that’s the beauty of the money list. If you have a good run you get very well rewarded. It’s getting harder every season for me because of the standard but anything is possible if your form comes good.”
Doherty only played in three of the six European Tour events last season – and won only one match – but is committed to a full schedule this time.
“I’m going to try to play in all of them this season,” said the winner of six ranking titles. “I felt I was playing catch-up last year because I missed some of them. I might only have a few years left on the tour so I want to give it my best shot for now.”
A 6-3 win over Vinnie Calabrese in last week’s International Championship qualifiers in Barnsley has given Doherty a confidence lift, even though the match took longer than he had hoped.
“I had a flight booked for 7.30pm that night from Leeds back to Dublin, but I didn’t get to the airport until 7pm and they wouldn’t let me check in,” he said. “So I had to wait until the next morning which was annoying, though my mood would have been a lot worse if I had lost.
“I played ok against Vinnie and made a good clearance in the last frame to finish it. I won a couple of frames after needing snookers, which changed the match. You never lose that tactical side and it’s something I can always fall back on when my potting boots go missing. A lot of the younger players now just see the top guys potting balls and that’s what they want to do, but they don’t have a B game to back it up when they are not making big breaks.
Doherty is a pundit and commentator at BBC events and also hosts a show on Sunshine Radio every Saturday
“I’m really looking forward to Germany now, it’s a cracking venue in Mülheim, the fans love their snooker and that gives all the players a boost. We have a fantastic sponsor on the European Tour now in Kreativ Dental Clinic, they have invested money into snooker and really supported us.
“In the first round I’ve got Yu Delu who is a very good player, which just shows how tough most of the draws are now. You play so many matches in a short space of time at these events so the guy who ends up winning really deserves it.”
Despite his commitment to playing more events, Doherty found time for a three-week holiday in Australia over the summer, visiting the family of wife Sarah. Their seven-year-old son Christian is showing a talent for tennis and is currently training with the Irish under-nines squad.
“As you get older the travelling gets harder and it means spending time away from my family,” said Doherty. “But once I retire I can see more of them. In fact they will probably want to send me away sometimes!”
The amateur rounds of the Ruhr Open are underway, followed by the last 128 from Friday to Sunday. Click here for the match schedule, here for the Eurosport TV schedule and here for ticket details.