Marco Fu

Snooker is in my blood: Hong Kong star Marco Fu itching to return to the table

The world No 11 will be thrown in the deep end after deciding to have another go at the Crucible as he plays his first tournament since January’s Masters

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 6:58pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 April, 2018, 12:48am

Marco Fu Ka-chun is itching to return to the snooker table and play at the highest level again, saying “snooker is in my blood” as he makes a surprise return to this month’s World Championship.

Fu had said that he would probably skip the prestigious event at the Crucible Theatre as he battles eye problems but he has had a change of heart and decided to compete in the last major tournament of the season.

The Hong Kong star, who had laser surgery performed on his left eye in December, has not played since losing to Ronnie O’ Sullivan in the opening round of the Masters in January. And he’s eager to return to competition after taking the longest break in his 20 years as a professional. The World Championship starts on April 21 and end on May 7.

“I have not touched anything connected to snooker, watched any competition or read any snooker news during this period and now I really look forward to returning to the game,” said Fu before his departure to Sheffield, England this weekend. “My doctor has given me the green light to start playing again as the retinal degeneration problem seems to be rectified, although I still see a lot floaters in my eyes.

“The results will not matter too much as I will try to enjoy playing again. I may still feel the pressure when the competition actually starts as the World Championship is the biggest tournament [in the world], but this should be one I could enjoy the most.”

I’m back in the frame! Hong Kong snooker star Marco Fu announces he’ll compete at the World Championship

Fu said his decision to have another go at the Crucible Theatre, where he was twice a semi-finalist in 2006 and 2016, had received strong support from his family, including his wife and two daughters. However, he said his family would not accompany him to England. “After the World Championship, there will be another long break before the new season begins. So it won’t be too much of a burden to my eyes,” he said.

The 40-year-old resumed training two weeks ago and added: “My form isn’t as good as when I was playing on the tour regularly, but that’s not the point. I want to play again,” he said.

Fu’s ranking has dropped two places to 11th but it’s high enough for him to earn a place in the main draw in the World Championship with his fellow top-16 players. He’s been drawn in the bottom half of the draw alongside other big names such as Barry Hawkins, Ding Junhui and Ronnie O’Sullivan. But Fu refused to look beyond the first round where he will face a qualifier.

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“The qualifiers are all good players and there will be no easy games,” he said. “The first round should provide me with a good warm-up opportunity to get back into the game and if I can get through, it will boost my confidence for the latter stages.”

Fu, meanwhile, said Hong Kong’s three-time women’s snooker champion, Ng On-yee, has a lot of work to do if she wants to qualify for the men’s main draw.

Ng, fresh from winning her third world title in Malta, was brought down to earth after losing 10-1 against England’s Matthew Selt in the first round of qualifying.

“I watched her once before when she played for the first time in the qualifiers but if her results are all the same [losing 10-1], it means Ng has to do a lot to improve her skills and mental game,” said Fu.

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“The men’s players have a lot of opportunities to play against each other but the women’s players do not that many opportunities. Apparently, she needs to work hard on that in order to see a big improvement.”

Fu said she should not be discouraged by her latest failure at the men’s game and put it all down to experience.

“There’s a big gap between the men and women. That’s the reason why I am here, for the experience. One mistake can cost you a frame,” said Fu.

Fu added: “With enough practice under given conditions, I think her game can only get better ... winning or losing doesn’t really matter. Experience and knowledge you have gained will help you throughout your snooker career.”