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Whirlwind Still Feels Snooker Buzz

Jimmy White

The Whirlwind

Jimmy White insists he still loves competing on the World Snooker Tour at the age of 53.

Ten-time ranking event winner White, who turned pro back in 1980, dropped out of the world’s top 64 at the end of last season but retained his place on the circuit thanks to his position on the European Tour Order of Merit.

The Londoner suffered a shock 5-4 defeat against Saqib Nasir in his opening match of the current season. But he remains optimistic as he looks ahead to this week’s Riga Open and next week’s Shanghai Masters qualifiers in Barnsley.

Interviewed by Andy Goldstein on the Sportsbar show on talkSPORT, White said: “I absolutely love the game. I’m fresh and ready to go. It’s a very long season and the travelling can be a bind. But I still get the same buzz from playing.

“Every year it gets harder but I’m still making 147s in practice and I still produce occasionally in matches.

“It’s the best time to be a young player. It is expensive to play on the circuit for parents or sponsors. But if you’re any good you can climb up the rankings quickly. There are a few teenagers from China coming through who are good enough to win any tournament.”

Looking back on last season’s Betfred World Championship qualifiers, six-time Crucible finalist White said: “I beat James Wattana 10-3 in my first match, then I played Matt Selt and I was 7-2 up. I had been on a very strict diet for two months and lost two stone but I felt exhausted. I’m not fit and I’m trying to get fit. I should have had pasta or chocolate for energy because I was tired in the second session and I lost 10-8.

“No disrespect to Matt because he played well in the evening. I collapsed a bit like a cheap tent in the end. It was a sickener to be that far in front and lose. It was hard to swallow because I’d put so much practice in. But I realised my game is still there, it proved that I was still hitting the ball well.”

White was in Tel Aviv, Israel, last week for an exhibition. He explained: “I’ve got a friend there and he said come and play against one guy from Palestine and one from Israel, and we’ll call it Pot One For Peace. It was a massive thing with a lot of media there and I ended up on a few TV channels. We had people from both sides, all the politics were left at the door and it was a good night.”

Watch White take on Oliver Lines for FREE at the Shanghai Masters in Barnsley next Wednesday – click here for the match schedule.