Marco Fu says world-ranking tournament will help Hong Kong regain its place as Asia’s centre for snooker, ahead of China
Scottish Open champion says he wants a return to the old days when the city regularly played host to the world’s best players
Local ace Marco Fu Ka-chun is hoping his global success will help the city regain its status as Asia’s centre for snooker and is determined to bring a world-class tournament to Hong Kong in the near future.
The 38-year-old Fu claimed his third ranking tournament over the weekend, the Coral Scottish Open, beating John Higgins 9-4 in the final, having previously reached the semi-finals of the prestigious UK Championship.
Fu said Hong Kong was Asia’s original hotspot for snooker and was dismayed that the mainland has now overtaken the city in terms of ranking tournaments.
“I am still hungry for success and hopefully my best has yet to come,” said Fu, who returned to Hong Kong on Tuesday. “Age is never a problem in snooker as long as you have the right mentality and the passion to the sport. There are still many things I have yet to achieve in snooker such as bringing a ranking tournament to Hong Kong to inspire more young people to take up sport.
Watch: Marco Fu talks about his victory in the Scottish Open
“When I was young, I used to watch some of the greatest players play in Hong Kong and that’s why I started snooker. The world snooker association [world professional billiard and snooker association) has repeatedly spoken to me about the move [staging a tournament in Hong Kong].
“There are four ranking tournaments in China and snooker in the mainland has been heavily influenced by Hong Kong. We should host our own events to justify this great tradition because such a tournament can also bring a lot of economic benefits to Hong Kong.”
In the late '80s and '90s, snooker and boxing impresario Barry Hearn regularly brought the world’s best snooker players to Hong Kong for an annual tournament. Playing legends such as Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White and Alex Higgins, among others, played to packed arenas during the heyday of the sport in Hong Kong.
Fu, who won £70,000 (HK$677,000), was greeted at the airport by his wife Shirley and two children Aliciabelle and Amelialara, as well as at least 30 media representatives.
“I haven’t seen my family for more than six weeks that’s why I am so eager to come back to Hong Kong,” he said. “My family plays a pivotal role in my career as I always want to make them proud. The prize money would be a timely Christmas gift.”
Fu jumps from 14th in the world to eighth after the victory and his next target is the Masters in January. His career-high ranking is sixth, in 2013.
He refused to predict when his next tournament title would come.
“I never expected to perform so well in two big tournaments in a row after a poor start of the season,” said a tired Fu, who only had a few hours sleep after the match before driving back to London to catch his flight back to Hong Kong. “It happened only when all the right elements came together – your form, your physical condition, your feel of play and also a bit of luck. It is therefore difficult to predict when it will come next time, especially because the tour is so competitive these days.
“Before the top 16 players were well protected as seeds in a tournament but now any player can lose in the first round. Indeed, some good players like Mark Selby some time ago failed to win a single tournament in 12 months.”