Jones reached the semi-finals of the Australian Goldfields Open last season and the quarter-finals of the World Championship in 2012
World number 35 Jamie Jones has hit form at just the right time as he looks ahead to next week’s Kaspersky Riga Masters.
The Welshman feels his game is coming together after victory at the Pink Ribbon Charity Championship in Gloucester last weekend, beating David Grace in the final.
Jamie, how much confidence does winning the Pink Ribbon event give you with the season getting started?
“I didn’t expect to go up there and win it. I just played great right from the start of the event all the way through to the final. Being a pro-am, I had to give an 18-point start to the amateurs which is always difficult. I also beat some top professionals.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to come away from a tournament knowing that nobody beat you. I haven’t won an event since turning professional, so it gives me a lot of confidence that I can go into the tour this year and try to claim a title.”
You secured a spot at the Riga Masters and the Indian Open recently in Preston, but missed out on a World Open place. How did you feel coming away from the qualifiers?
“I was really disappointed. I managed to get two out of the three which is what you would probably expect, but I didn’t play well. It was a real struggle and felt like a continuation of my form from last season. I put in a lot of practice beforehand, but when I got to the event it didn’t seem to rub off. It’s only in the last week that things have really begun to come together. I’m happy with how I’m hitting the ball and with how I played in Gloucester.
“It’s good to have made it to Latvia and India. I’ve been to both places on three or four occasions and enjoy travelling to play there. I first played in Riga at the World Under-21 Championship and it has always been a really welcoming place. It’s exciting to get the season going.”
In terms of your practice for this season, is there anything which you’ve changed?
“Nothing in particular. I was just fed up with how I was playing last year. When you struggle on the table it makes life a bit of a struggle off it as well. I lost in the first qualifying round for the World Championship and after that I didn’t even want to look at a cue, I felt really bad. At the end of the day it’s your profession and if you aren’t performing the way you should it gets you down. But the new season came around very quickly and I realised that I just had to get up and do something about it. So I have been working really hard to get my game back up to scratch.”
Showing his talent at a school in China
Have you got any goals or ambitions for the upcoming season?
“Setting goals is actually something I’ve never done before. Everyone seems to do it apart from me. But after speaking to one of my friends I thought it would give me a real focus if I had a target. I’m currently sitting at 35th in the world rankings, so the ambition is to break into the top 20 and win a ranking event along the way.”
You took up yoga last year. Is there any connection to your snooker or is it just a pastime?
“I’ve always kept relatively fit. I really like running and have done two half marathons. I actually have another coming up in a couple of weeks. Yoga helps you deal with the aches and pains. If you really get into it, you can teach yourself to keep calm and that’s something I can take on to the table. In a tournament situation you have to do anything you can to give yourself a bit of an edge, so yes I think it does help.”