Phil Haigh ✍️
Tom Ford reckons anyone who wants to get Ronnie O’Sullivan in the UK Championship draw is deluded, asking: ‘Do you want to earn money and a living or just have the chance to say you’ve played Ronnie?’
Ford produced a great performance to beat Noppon Saengkham 6-3 in the final round of qualifying for the UK Championship, meaning he will draw a top 16 player in Thursday’s draw.
Having made two centuries and three more half-centuries in the fine win over the Thai, Ford is clearly playing well and has not got a pick for who he wants to play in York, but he knows who he wants to avoid.
‘I’m not really bothered, I’m not fussed, but nobody wants Ronnie do they?’ Ford told Metro.co.uk.
Sometimes players, especially enthusiastic youngsters, do fancy a crack at the Rocket on the sport’s biggest stages, but Ford is not having it at all.
‘Why would you want to play Ronnie when you’re trying to earn a living? These people are deluded,’ he said. ‘Why do you want to go and play Ronnie and get beat?
‘Do you want to earn money and a living or just have the chance to say you’ve played Ronnie? I’d prefer to go and earn some money.’
The world number 32 may be playing with fire after Dave Gilbert declared at the World Championship that he wanted to avoid O’Sullivan and was handed a date with the Rocket in round one.
Ford may not want to take on the world champion but he is feeling good again after a really low time last year during the lockdowns and Covid restrictions.
At the 2021 Welsh Open he told Metro.co.uk that he was ‘fed up with everything’ even when he was getting results, but things are better now.
‘I’m fine,’ he explained. ‘I got through that. Lockdown didn’t help at all but things are opening up and it’s getting back to normal, so I’m fine.
‘[During lockdown] It was nice to get out and play matches, but you get out of your house, get in a hotel and you were in isolation again, so in a way it was worse.
‘At a tournament you’re thinking you get to see a couple of snooker friends, but you weren’t allowed to mix, back in isolation, missus wasn’t there. It was tough, but it was tough for everybody.
‘People deal with things differently and I didn’t deal with it very well.’
Ford reached the semi-finals at the UK Championship in 2018, losing out to the Rocket in the last four that time, and while he has gained confidence from a great win over Noppon, he is never one to get carried away.
Asked if he could go further than his previous best at the UK this time around, he said: ‘To be honest my game’s not even there. But a lot can happen between now and next week.
‘On my day I can beat anyone, but I need to get there, I don’t think I’ve been on my day this season yet. I’ve had quite a few bad losses, I just need to get my head up, get some confidence and get my game back to where it was.’
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