FORMER South Yorkshire snooker world champ Shaun Murphy admits his impressive season so far is missing just one thing – some silverware.
And the 30-year-old is hoping that he can end his barren run, and in the process complete snooker’s elusive Triple Crown, at next week’s Masters in London.
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The ex-Rotherham potter finished runner-up at both the UK Championship and the Masters last year, results that have seen him climb the world rankings to fourth.
And ahead of his return to the Alexandra Palace next week, Murphy admits he is desperate to join the list of only seven players in the history of snooker who have won the Triple Crown of the UK Championship, The Masters and of course the most prestigious of all, the World Championships.
“I would assess my first half of the season pretty well, I’ve been to a final and a few semi-finals, gone up to No.4, the only thing I need now is a trophy for the season,” he said.
“Before Christmas I had a good run in the UK with a lot of practice and since then I have put some good work in again.
“You enter these events to win them, of course you do, but to come runner-up is no disgrace and to lose to great players is no disgrace.
“The Masters is the only current one of the big three tournaments that I have not won and I would absolutely love it if I could complete that Grand Slam set - very few people have managed to do that.
“I got to the final last year and lost to a class player in Neil Robertson so if I can go one better this time around that would be great.”
First up for the 2005 World Champion is world no.13 Ricky Walden next Tuesday and Murphy knows what a tough test he represents.
But with the vocal backing of the ‘Ally Pally’ crowd, Murphy cannot wait for the tournament to get underway.
“You can’t afford to get ahead of yourself at a tournament like the Masters, in the first round I’m playing Ricky Walden, he’s a class player who will make it very difficult for me,” he added.
“Every match at the Masters could easily be a final at most other tournaments, the atmosphere is great as London crowds are just that little bit more boisterous.
“It’s the only time snooker goes near London and you have to be on your game right from the off.
“I didn’t like Wembley arena all that much if I’m quite honest, it was too big really and I have not heard a bad word said about the Ally Pally from last year, maybe I’m a bit biased because I got to the final but I think it’s great.”
* British Eurosport is the Home of Snooker, showing 19 tournaments this season including the World Championship, UK Championship, the Masters and all ranking events, available on Sky (410/411) and Virgin Media (521/525) or online/on mobile via eurosportplayer.co.uk.