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16 October 2014
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Matthew Stevens

Snooker Champion

Career:
I became interested in snooker from the age of 8 or 9. By the age of 11, I was very good at snooker and so I took the risk and left school at 15, without my GCSEs, to concentrate on the sport. I turned professional at 17. I’m ranked 6 in the world at the moment.

The job:
I play 3-4 hours a day, sometimes more. For a big tournament, I practise more. I play 5 days a week and have the weekend off. For 3 days, I practise on my own and for 2 days, I practise with an opponent. Practice sessions are just like work, you have to be disciplined.

Big break:
At 11, I made my first century break and at 13, I started winning junior tournaments. I won the Welsh Youth tournament at 14 and then realised that it would be my career. It is hard work and not just about turning up and playing. People don’t realise how hard it is. They see you on television and think it’s like that all the time.

Heroes:
When I was younger, Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White were my heroes. Stephen Hendry was always a winner and I really admired him. We are good mates now and it’s strange to think that he was my hero and now we get on really well.

Highlight:
Winning my first professional tournament in Scotland, the Regal Masters, was very special. Winning the Benson and Hedges Masters in Wembley was the biggest tournament. It’s great when you know that you’ve potted the ball and it’s a winner.

Low:
You try to blank out the lows in the game. One low was when I lost in the World Final when I was well ahead. I lost 18-16 and that was very disappointing.

Tips from the top:
Stick at it and believe in yourself. Believe, practise hard and enjoy it! If you don’t enjoy it, then don’t do it! Don’t be pressurised by anyone else. Work on your weak points to improve your game.

 
Cymraeg (Welsh)

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