From favourite films to fearsome phobias, find out more about the 2013 UK Champion…
Abroad – What is your favourite holiday destination?
Now I live in the UK it would have to be Australia. Also, every summer I go to Sweden which is really nice.
Book – What is the last book you read?
I’ve just read The Inside Story of Arsenal Under Wenger – it was really interesting to get a different insight about things like Arsenal’s transfer policy. I’m a Chelsea fan and even I enjoyed it.
Cue – What cue do you use?
I use a John Parris Classic cue and have done since I was 15.
Day – What happens in a typical working day for you?
I take my son to school, go to the club and practise – then on certain days I pick him up from school. I get home, go to the gym and then spend a bit of time with my son – playing football in the garden or at the park. When he goes to bed, I like to chill out and play some video games or watch a movie.
Education – How would you get on in a pub quiz?
My sports knowledge is really good – I have a fairly broad knowledge of all sports.
Film – What is your favourite film?
The Shawshank Redemption.
Goals – What are your aims for this season?
I just try to set out to be a better player than I was the previous season, be healthier as a person and try to be a better dad. My goal setting is a little different to everyone else – each week I try to improve as a person and a player.
Hobbies – What are your interests away from the table?
I love video games but don’t play as much as I used to since my son came along. When I get time to myself, I like going to the gym – I’m really hitting it hard at the moment.
Idols – Who are yours?
My idols growing up were Michael Jordan and Aussie Rules footballer Nathan Buckley, and Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White were my snooker heroes.
Meeting fans in China
Job – What would you be if you weren’t a snooker player?
With my keen interest in so many sports, maybe I’d have taken on a different one to snooker. Whether I’d have been as successful is hard to guess.
Kid – Were you a well-behaved child?
I think so for most of it. In High School, maybe not so much – I was always looking for excuses not to go so I could play snooker.
Lucky – What is the biggest piece of luck you’ve ever had?
When I got relegated off the tour 12 years ago, Joe Perry moved to the Cambridge Snooker Centre when I did. It was just a complete coincidence that we both ended up at that club. There’s no way I’d have improved as much as I have just playing by myself. I learned by playing with Joe every day. I certainly took full advantage of it.
Moan – What makes you have a good moan?
Probably football-related stuff like when Chelsea have an unlucky defeat or someone scores a last-minute winner against me on FIFA.
Receiving a special award for the ‘Century of Centuries’ in 2014
Nightmare – What is your worst moment on a snooker table?
It’s strange because they’ve all been very good learning experiences and I’ve come back a better player. The worst was losing 13-12 to Graeme Dott in the quarter-finals of the World Championship in 2006. He fouled and I made a terrible decision not to put the white back and played the shot myself. I played a poor safety shot on the yellow, leaving it perfect for him. I learnt a lot from it, though, and won two ranking titles the following season.
Oops! – What is the clumsiest thing you’ve ever done?
Packing up the set of balls after practice then picking it up without closing it properly so the balls go all over the floor. I do it all the time.
Picky – Is there anything you are particular about?
I hate it when people double-dip chips into food dips. They take a dip, bite it and then put it back in rather than turning it over and using the other side. It really gets on my nerves.
Quiet – How long could you last in a sponsored silence?
I actually really enjoy my own time and like been by myself – I think I could do a lot better than most other people.
Retirement – What do you plan to do after hanging up your cue?
I often think about staying in the game somehow – commentating or coaching. Coaching is mainly about giving back to the game and I’d love to do commentary. But who knows?
With son Alexander
Shopping – Where do you buy your clothes from?
It varies, but usually a designer shop in Cambridge called Giulio.
TV – What are your favourite programmes?
The one I love at the moment is Game of Thrones. I also like Big Bang Theory and Seinfeld. Growing up, I used to really like the Simpsons, but not so much now.
Unforgettable – What is your greatest ever moment on a snooker table?
Winning the 2010 World Championship, but a very close second would be when I captured the Triple Crown by winning the 2013 UK Championship.
Venue – What is your favourite venue to play at?
It’s got to be the Crucible. The scariest place I’ve played was Wembley Conference Centre, which was against Jimmy White in my first ever match on television and there were nearly 2,000 people screaming for Jimmy. I also played Stephen Hendry on my debut at the Crucible when he was the world number one – I was definitely thrown in at the deep end in those two venues.
Wheels – What car do you drive?
An Audi Q7 – I’ve had it for a few years now. Last year, I was driving a Mercedes C63 AMG.
X – If you could kiss any girl in the world, who would it be?
It has to be my partner Mille – I don’t want to get into trouble!
Yikes! – Do you have any phobias?
I absolutely hate wasps – if there’s one in the kitchen, I leave within half a second. I’ve never been stung by one so I don’t know what it’s going to be like. Also, whenever I’m in the sea, I always make sure I’m not the furthest one out in case there are sharks – that’s what you get for watching Jaws as an eight-year-old.
Zzzzz – What puts you to sleep?
The best thing for me is reading for 15 minutes – I soon nod off.
Interview by Jonathan Davies