New heights as Hong Kong snooker star Marco Fu delights at his highest-ever world ranking
Hong Kong cueman returns from the world championship, where he reached the quarter-finals, and says he owes his new-found success to his family and coach
Hong Kong star Marco Fu Ka-chun has credited his family, his coach and a “bit of everything” for helping him achieve his best-ever season-ending world ranking of No 6.
Celebrating 19 years as a professional, the 39-year-old is enjoying a new-found confidence in his game, which garnered one ranking tournament victory in the recently concluded season – last December’s Scottish Open – plus a final appearance at the Players Championship. He also made two other semi-final appearances at the UK Championship and World Grand Prix. Last week, he reached the quarter-finals of the world championship at the Crucible, losing to eventual champion Mark Selby of England.
“Ive been ranked sixth before [2013/2014 season] but that was a provisional ranking. It’s great to finish the season on a high,” said Fu. “I had a consistent season, winning one tournament and reaching semis in three others. I’m happy with that.”
Fu was delighted that he finished the season on a career high as he pushed his career earnings past £2.3 million (HK$23m).
The Hong Kong cueman is ranked behind world No 1 Selby, former four-time world champion John Higgins of Scotland (2), England’s Judd Trump (3), China’s Ding Jinghui (4) and England’s Barry Hawkins (5).
“Towards the second half of the season, after the UK Championship, and before Christmas, my form has been quite consistent,” said Fu, who recently returned to Hong Kong from the Crucible theatre in Sheffield, where he was twice been a semi-finalist. “I think it’s a bit of everything [as to why he has improved]. I’m more settled with my family.
“My coach [Wayne Griffiths] helped me a lot with my technical game. I’ve improved a lot as a player. I changed the style of play a little bit as well … a bit more attacking and quicker and I think there’s a bit of confidence too because I’ve been losing during the first two or three rounds in every tournament especially at the beginning of the season,” he said.
“My confidence was a little bit low then. I think the UK Championship [last December] helped me a lot. I got into the semi-finals, lost to Ronnie [O’Sullivan], almost beat him [Fu lost 6-5]. Then I won the Scottish Open …then came the Masters where I lost to Ronnie again [6-4] but I played very well. A little bit of confidence here and then. Sometimes when you’re on a good run you just need to take advantage of it.
“Sometimes I play well, but even if I wasn’t playing well, I was able to use my ‘B’ game, my safety game to win matches. Winning can be a habit,” said Fu, who also said he has adopted a more aggressive approach.
Fu’s consistent form made him one of the players to watch out for at the Crucible, where he was tipped to win the world title by none other than snooker great, Ronnie O’Sullivan. But alas, Fu was beaten for the second straight year by Selby, who recorded a quick-fire 13-3 victory. The Leicester man went on to lift his third world title in four years by defeating Higgins 18-15 in this year’s final.
Disappointed that he was unable to progress further into the tournament after two semi-final appearances in 2006 and 2016, Fu admitted that he lost to “a very tough” Selby.
“Mark was at his best. Everything was top-class. You can’t really do anything but admire him,” Fu said at the time.
Fu’s six-year marriage to Shirley is also on a firm footing as well. Fu’s form took a dramatic turn after the birth of his second daughter, 22-month-old, Amelia Lara, the younger sister of four-and-a-half-year-old Alicia Belle, Fu’s other daughter.
Fatherhood seems to have helped improve his game and he said his coach, Welshman Wayne Griffiths, son of 1979 world champion Terry Griffiths, has also been a big help.
Fu will return to action in the UK in June for the qualifiers of the China Championship before taking a break until July when the season begins again.
“I just plan on enjoying the game and hopefully I will continue to play well for next season,” said Fu.