Shaun Murphy has revealed the extent of the abuse he suffered following his comments on amateur players at last year’s UK Championship.
The 2005 snooker world champion lost to amateur player Si Jiahui in the tournament’s first round back in November.
Facing a 5-1 deficit, Murphy rallied to draw level at 5-5, but was ultimately defeated by the teenager in the deciding frame, 6-5.
Following the crushing loss, Murphy slammed the inclusion of amateurs at professional events.
“It is not fair, it is not right,” the 39-year-old told reporters after his match. “I feel extremely hard done by that I have lost to someone who shouldn’t even be in the building.
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“I don’t know why we as a sport allow amateurs to compete in professional tournaments. This is our livelihood. This is our living. We are self-employed individuals and not contracted sportsmen. We don’t play for a team.”
Since then, ‘The Magician’ has admitted the comments were ill-advised and has opened up on the backlash he has received since making his remarks, which included death threats.
“I spent the first 24 hours locked in my hotel room fending off calls from all the news outlets.” he told The Metro.
“I didn’t say it to generate interest, it wasn’t a line, it wasn’t clickbait, it’s something I felt genuinely about and I couldn’t believe how mad it went.
“Soon after I was on the motorway in traffic and there was a guy abusing me from his van next door. I was thinking, ‘We were only talking about snooker, I’m not the prime minister!’ It was all getting a bit much.
“I got a few death threats on social media, people messaging me all sorts of vile stuff. It was not an experience I’d like to repeat, I have to say. I didn’t think what I said was that bad.”
Record eight-time UK Open winner Ronnie O’Sullivan criticised Murphy for his response to his opponent and urged him to “start looking for a job” if he doesn’t approve of amateurs playing at pro events.
“I hope it gets worse, honestly. I hope it gets worse for them,” said O’Sullivan at the time of Murphy’s controversial comments. “They better start looking for a job if they don’t like it.
“I drew a line under it a long time ago. I can change what I do, that’s what I’m saying to Murphy, go and get a job, do something else, play snooker for fun because you’re going to have loads more of that.
“You’ll never hear me talk like that because it’s a hobby, but when it means something to you then it can hurt.”
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