Jamie Jones made his third Crucible appearance back in April. With the new 2018/19 campaign on the horizon, the Welshman is now aiming to claim his first piece of ranking silverware.
We spoke to Jones to look ahead to the upcoming season and review how he fared last term…
Jamie, you secured your place at the World Championship with a remarkable 10-0 demolition of Liang Wenbo at the qualifiers. How pleased were you to reach the Crucible in such an emphatic fashion?
“Well in the round before that I was 9-1 up on Yu Delu and I couldn’t really have played any better if I had tried. I was flying. He actually came back and made it 9-7. I came up with a great break to get over the line, because that was probably the biggest scare of my career. Looking back, I think that was partly why I played so well against Liang. I was just so happy to get through that previous round and it took the pressure off. I came out, relaxed and played excellent to get through.”
When you reached the Crucible you continued your good form. Although you went out at the last 16 stage against Kyren Wilson, there was a fine 10-9 win over Shaun Murphy in the first round. How proud were you to hold your nerve in the decider?
“I feel that I’ve always played well in the longer matches. Certain players are suited to different things. I find that in the best of 19 matches it is more of a mental battle and not so much of a rushed environment. So I’m normally pretty confident in longer matches and in this instance I just tried to believe in the decider. It was the first time one of my matches had come down to a final frame at the Crucible and there is a lot of pressure with the money at stake and all of your friends watching on TV at home. I was delighted to come through.
“I was disappointed with how I played against Kyren. I stuck with him early on in the game but then he just seemed to get away from me. I thought his attitude around the table was excellent. I can definitely learn from someone like Kyren, who has really kicked on in the sport. He has turned into a top class player.”
Looking ahead to the upcoming campaign what are you hoping to achieve?
“I want to try and win a ranking title. I’ve proved on occasions that I can beat any of the top players, but I think I need to try and string together more matches. I feel like inconsistency has plagued my career. I’m either playing great, or very below par. I’ll keep working hard on the table and if I do that then I believe it is certainly achievable to get a win nor two this year.”
You were involved in filming a snooker advert for Eurosport earlier in the year. Tell us a bit about what was involved.
“I was really pleased to be asked, I think they picked me because I run half marathons and I’m into my fitness, which was really the theme of the advert. It was a brilliant experience. We had to be in Cardiff on the beach at 6am to film a scene of me running. It was February and it was absolutely freezing. There must have been about 15 people there from makeup artists to camera men. All in all it took about 16 hours to film so it is a very intensive process. At the end of the day they had to get it all right. I found it really interesting to see the amount of production which has to go into a one-minute clip.
“The second part of the filming was at a snooker club. It was a proper old school club which was nice. It was quite dark and dingy and a little bit like where I started playing when I was younger. They asked me to snap a cue which I quite enjoyed doing considering I have never done that before. I think I took out about 20 years of frustration doing it. They had three or four cues which were all sawed part of the way through, I had to wear a knee pad to do it.
“We then filmed some stuff at a local gym before finishing off at a hotel. It was probably one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever been in. When we were in the lift on the way to film in the room we actually bumped into David Hasselhoff. I looked at him and carried on walking, by the time I realised who it was he was long gone. That was quite surreal.”
How important do you think fitness is on the modern snooker circuit?
“I think it is very important, especially at the Crucible. You expend a lot of nervous energy. I’ve got to be honest, mid-way through my last 16 match with Kyren Wilson there were spells that I felt a bit tired. I know I try to keep on top of my fitness, but as a professional sportsman I don’t think it is good enough to feel tired. You can’t be feeling tired in the biggest tournament of the year. I’ve always kept physically fit, but the one thing that has let me down is my diet. My girlfriend has always had a healthy diet, but mine isn’t particularly. We have been speaking about it and that is something I am going to try and improve.”