Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee hopes that the upcoming BetVictor World Mixed Doubles can help to showcase the diversity in snooker and prove that there are no gender barriers to success in the sport.
The doubles tournament will see the world’s top four men – Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson – each paired with one of the top four women – On Yee, Reanne Evans, Mink Nutcharut and Rebecca Kenna. The random draw for the pairings will take place ahead of the event, which runs on September 24th and 25th in Milton Keynes. It will be televised by ITV.
On Yee is a three-time World Women’s Champion and made her debut as a professional last season, after receiving a two-year card on the World Snooker Tour.
Despite missing much of the campaign due to coronavirus travel restrictions, On Yee made an encouraging start with several strong showings. She had led 2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy 3-1 at the Scottish Open, before succumbing to a 4-3 loss. On Yee also held a 4-2 advantage against Craig Steadman at German Masters qualifying, but eventually lost 5-4. The 31-year-old did go on to land her first win on the circuit with a 4-2 defeat of Wu Yize in Welsh Open qualifying.
On Yee hopes that the mixed doubles event will serve as a great opportunity to inspire more women to take up the sport and put snooker as a whole under a larger global spotlight.
“I think the number of opportunities for ladies, alongside the juniors and disabilities, are heading in more positive directions with more publicity. I think an event like this can be a showcase for bringing snooker into larger sporting arenas, such as the Asian Games and maybe even the Olympics,” said On Yee.
“When I started to play snooker I was one of the only females in the local club back home. People were surprised to see me playing there and even more surprised I was able to pot some balls with my thick glasses on. I hope that a tournament like this can contribute to changing that and getting more people playing the sport. I hope people can begin to realise this isn’t just a male sport and that this is really changing.
“I am very excited. As this is the first televised mixed doubles since 1991, it has a bit of extra importance. It has always been my dream to play with the very best players on television. My friends and family will be watching and cheering me on.”
On Yee believes that she can learn from the experience competing in a global event, alongside one of the most decorated players on the planet, at the World Mixed Doubles. She also accepts that being a doubles partner comes with its own unique pressures and hopes that she doesn’t let her partner down.
“Having practised with Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams, they have given me advice and helped me a lot with my game. They both recognised I wasn’t good with power shots and asked me to hold the cue a bit further back, to give myself more room to hit through the shot. Ronnie specifically told me to be more aggressive and try to split the pack a lot earlier and create more chances to score. Those pieces of advice have been very useful. I hope that I can learn a lot more playing in this mixed doubles event.
“I’ve played doubles and mixed doubles a few times before. It is a very different game. Normally snooker is just your own game. It doesn’t matter what happens in a match, you have to deal with yourself. In doubles, you have someone beside you and sometimes you will even discuss the shots as well. This can act as a support, but on the other side it is additional pressure as well. You don’t want to let them down.”
In the meantime, On Yee travels to the United Kingdom tomorrow to prepare for her season getting underway at the BetVictor Championship League later this month. On Yee feels she is a much improved player and is hoping that she can push her game on to new levels over the course of the upcoming campaign.
“I enjoyed last season, with it being my first time on the professional tour. Everything was new to me, from booking practice tables to wearing black shirts for Home Nations series and leaving cue cases under the table. I needed to get used to all of these small things around the tour and how it all works, as well as the level required on the table. Those two games which I lost from ahead against Shaun Murphy and Craig Steadman were learning curves. I am glad I managed to win one match against Wu Yize in the Welsh Open. It is all about the experience of the environment. Compared to one year ago I am definitely a better player. If I can continue to compete on the main tour then my game can only get better.”
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