Crowd favourite Tony Drago insists he retains his love of snooker despite looking certain to drop off the professional tour this season.
Malta’s quickfire potter Drago, nicknamed the Tornado, is looking forward to playing at the 888sport World Seniors Championship at the Guild Hall in Preston this weekend where he’ll be lining up against the likes of Jimmy White, John Parrott and defending champion Mark Williams.
Drago, who turned 50 last September, has won only one match in seven events this season and admits he’s struggling to retain his tour card.
“It’s 99 per cent sure that I’ll lose my place on the tour,” said the player ranked 88th in the world. “I lost a bit of enthusiasm for the game earlier this season and I didn’t enter a couple of tournaments in China and Australia because I hate flying.
“But I’ve got my love for snooker back now and even if my lose my tour place I’ll ask for a wild card, or I might enter Q School. And if that doesn’t come off I’ll take a year off and play in some pool events and then try to come back the following year.”
Drago is loved by fans worldwide
Drago, who holds the all-time records for the fastest frame and fastest century, takes on fellow rapid potter Robert Milkins in the first round of the over-40s seniors event in Preston on Saturday.
“I could win 2-0 or lose 2-0 in 12 minutes because Robert is almost as fast as me,” joked Drago. “It’s a tournament where you can play eight good frames and win the title, or you could make two mistakes and go home.
“I’m really looking forward to the tournament because the Guild Hall has always been my favourite venue, I even prefer it to the Crucible. I remember playing Steve Davis there in the 1986 UK Championship and feeling I had really arrived as a player. Now 30 years later I’m going back. It’s a great venue for fans.”
Tickets for the tournament are still available and start at just £10, but fans must book fast because they are selling out. For details call 01772 804444 or CLICK HERE
The full draw and format is:
Peter Ebdon v Nigel Bond
Mark Williams v Anthony Hamilton
Tony Drago v Robert Milkins
Joe Johnson v Darren Morgan
Ken Doherty v Mark Davis
John Parrott v Dominic Dale
Rory McLeod v Fergal O’Brien
Jimmy White v Gary Lees