Ismail Turker, who will compete in next month’s Nirvana Turkish Masters as a wild card, hopes the new tournament will inspire young players in the country to follow and play snooker.
Turker, age 32, is a two-time and reigning Turkish champion and has been handed a place in the first ever world ranking event to take place in Turkey. The tournament will run from March 7 to 13 at the marvellous Nirvana Cosmopolitan Hotel in Antalya.
Tickets for the event, which will feature Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, John Higgins and many more of snooker’s top stars, are available now via Biletix
Turker (left) receiving the trophy at the Turkish Championship in 2021
“I hope lots of people will come to watch it live or watch it on TV,” said Turker, who will face Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the opening round. “We have a few good young Turkish players but maybe this event can help inspire more. It will be a proud moment for Turkey to host this event.
“It will be exciting for me and my best experience in snooker so far. I have played in World and European amateur championships but never in a big pro event like this. I will be nervous and I have a very hard first match but hopefully I can win at least one or two frames.”
Turker’s parents are Turkish but he was born and raised in Germany and lives in Essen. He first played snooker at the age of 16. “I had watched it on TV then I went to a club to give it a try,” he recalls. “It took me six months to realise I had a skill for it. I had a very good coach and my game improved a lot.”
Turker, whose highest tournament break is 134, names Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy as the players he most admires. He lives in the same town as German pro Lukas Kleckers and often practises with the world number 84. “Lukas is such a good player and I have learned a lot from him,” Turker added. “I work for a company which makes steel for cars and refrigerators and I work long shifts so I don’t have as much time to practise snooker as I would like. For every ten days I can only play snooker four or five times. But I hope I will be ready for the tournament next month.”