Phil Haigh ✍️
Jimmy White has credited both his son helping him in the practice room and working on his concentration for his incredible run through UK Championship qualifying.
At 60 years old, the Whirlwind has won four games in qualifying to make it to the last 32 of the huge tournament in York.
Whitewash 6-0 wins over Victor Sarkis and Mitchell Mann were impressive, but a 6-4 victory over former champion Stephen Maguire really caught the eye, then White got over the line in the qualifiers by beating Dominic Dale 6-1.
It is remarkable form from the veteran and he says it is partly due to the help from Tommy, but also really trying to focus on the mental side of the game, allowing for the immense talent he has always possessed to flow.
My game has been there for quite some time and my son’s been helping me get the balls out, he’s been with me for a few weeks,’ said White after beating Dale.
‘So we’re keeping to a timetable whereas before I’d keep changing when I practiced, so we’re on schedule all the time.
‘I’ve also been working on the mental side of the game, because my game is still as good, I still make 147s, I still go and do exhibitions and make four or five centuries in a night, but there’s no pressure.
‘The pressure is the buzz for me, if there was no pressure then I probably wouldn’t play the game.
‘It’s about the right thought process when you’re playing…sometimes I’m in the balls, perfect, and something in my mind will be saying, “did you water the plants before you left home?”
‘The other part of me is telling myself that’s irrelevant, so you’re having conversations. It’s your age. So I’ve just been trying to focus on the mental side of it.’
White will be the underdog in the last 32 against British Open champion Ryan Day, but he insists he is not just there to try and cause one more upset, he is there to lift the trophy, 30 years after his previous UK Championship triumph.
‘I wouldn’t play in any of them if I didn’t think I could win it,’ he said. ‘I don’t turn up to hopefully get to a quarter, semi or final. I’d have to take that on present form, but I’d still be disappointed. At the moment it’s all about winning.
‘I’d like to play Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final, that would be huge.’
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