Luca Brecel's Best Long Pots | 2023 Cazoo World Championship

The 16 Seeds: Shaun Murphy

Continuing our series of Cazoo World Championship previews.
By David Hendon

Seed 4: Shaun Murphy

Career overview

Murphy was a prodigiously talented junior who had early experience of playing the game’s top stars through being invited to compete in exhibition frames at the Matchroom League in the 1990s.

He turned professional at 15 but then lost his place on tour and spent a couple of years in the snooker wilderness before returning. When he did, he soon became established as a regular tournament winner.

Murphy is now regarded as a modern great and is one of only 11 players to have won the triple crown of World Championship, UK Championship and Masters titles.

He has made seven maximum breaks in competitive play and won a total of 24 professional titles.

This season

Murphy suffered a disappointing 2021/22 campaign and came into the current season desperately needing improvements to safeguard his top 16 place. He felt his game was “trending in the right direction” after a few months and was spectacularly proved right in the course of a golden few weeks.

Having made a 145 and 147 in back-to-back frames earlier in the tournament, Murphy reached the Welsh Open final in February, losing 9-7 to Robert Milkins. The following week he went to Wolverhampton for the Players Championship where he produced arguably the best individual performance of the season, firing in 11 centuries in capturing career ranking title number ten.

He did not have long to wait for number 11. Murphy also won the recent Tour Championship, overturning a 4-0 deficit against Kyren Wilson in the final, making him the form man coming into the Crucible.

The Crucible

After two first round exits, Murphy sensationally became only the second qualifier to triumph at the Crucible when he beat Chris Small, John Higgins, Steve Davis, Peter Ebdon and, from 10-6 down overnight, Matthew Stevens 18-16 in the 2005 final.

He has been a mainstay of the World Championship ever since and was runner-up to Higgins in 2009, Stuart Bingham in 2015 and Mark Selby in 2021.

Key stats

Previous appearances: 20

Matches played: 51

Matches won: 32

Crucible centuries: 84

2023 prospects

Murphy does not lack confidence but must be feeling the best he ever has coming into this year’s World Championship. All sides of his game have clicked, in particular his heavy scoring. He has compiled 45 centuries already this season compared to just 16 during the 2021/22 term.

The only question is if he has peaked slightly too early and whether he can sustain this golden run for the 17-day marathon.


Given his recent form it would be a huge shock if he lost early. The one-table stage beckons.

Bookmakers’ odds on Murphy: 9/1