Phil Haigh ✍️
Stephen Maguire is hating his return to World Snooker Championship qualification, saying he wants people sacked for the way the tables are set up and describing the format ‘garbage’.
The Scot has not had to go through qualifying to reach the Crucible since 2018, but after tumbling down the world rankings to number 40 he now has to come through the tension-filled halls of the English Institute of Sport.
Maguire’s main gripe has been that two of the tables are, as he puts is, ‘upside down’ with the black spot at the end at which the crowd is.
The 41-year-old says he has never seen the tables that way round in his career and the change is confusing to deal with for players.
He did win his first round of qualifying – beating Zhang Jiankang 6-3 – but he still wants people to be fired for what he sees as a huge mistake.
‘I just want to know whose idea it was to change the table round – and to put it upside down. How is that possible?’ Maguire questioned.
‘How can the black spot be where the crowd is? That has never happened since I have been a pro, 20 years. All of a sudden you are shooting into the crowd around the black.
‘So any sort of movement in the crowd…it was alien out there. Whoever’s idea that was to change the tables about needs to be sacked – it’s that simple.’
Maguire has been to the Crucible every year since making his debut in 2004 and he will have to beat Zhou Yuelong over a best-of-19 to continue that excellent record.
Until the final round of qualifying, the matches are now best-of-11, something that came in during the Covid-hit 2020 World Championship and Maguire has not experienced before.
He, like many others, would like to see a return of best-of-19 throughout, with some harsh words for the current format.
‘It feels rubbish being in the qualifiers,’ he said. ‘I am down the rankings so I deserve to be here. But I am not playing for the rest of my career if I have to play like this.
‘It is not the World Championship. It is the first time I have played a best-of-11 frame match in this event. I don’t know what is going on there.
‘I know they blamed Covid last year, but that’s away now, and they could have changed it back. They’ll probably keep it best-of-11s for the first three rounds if it keeps everyone else happy.
‘It is garbage, rubbish. I’m glad I have a couple of days off to relax and chill out, because I could have lost that match by beating myself.’
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This post appeared first on Snooker – Metro.