Shaun Murphy: 'The worst run of my professional life hurts'

Shaun Murphy
The UK Championship was one of the events in which Murphy suffered a first-round exit this season

Former world champion Shaun Murphy says he is on the worst run of his career, but cannot take a break from snooker because of the structure of the sport.

The 36-year-old, who won the world title in 2005, claimed the last of his seven ranking events in March 2017.

"I don't have a second career to go to yet, so my options are dust yourself off and keep going," Murphy said.

"You have to get out there and play so taking a break simply isn't an option for me at the moment."

Murphy reached the final of the Scottish Open in December, losing to Mark Allen in the final, but has lost in the first round in six of his first 11 tournaments this season and is currently ranked 11th in the world.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live's Sports Panel he said: "I'm going through a very very bad time, probably the worst of my career.

"But one of the first things Barry Hearn did when he took over the sport was make it so, if you do want to climb the ladder or stay where you are, you have to compete.

"We've got the Shootout [in Watford] this weekend and then we're off to India on Monday for the Indian Open so there's no real time to feel sorry for yourself with this wonderful circus of events we're on now. We go around the world preaching the snooker gospel, there are great opportunities every week.

"From my own perspective, I have to believe that things will turn for me and will get better but they'll only do that if I keep working hard at my game, it won't just happen on its own.

"But there's no sugar coating, I'm currently going through the worst run of my professional life and it's difficult, it hurts."

'Twitter wasn't adding anything to my life at all'

The Englishman revealed he stopped using social media in December after receiving vile abuse.

"I just found Twitter wasn't adding anything to my life at all," he explained. "It was causing me upset, things people said to me were coming back to me in matches and for every thousand nice comments, there would be a few that were just really nasty and you always remember the nasty ones.

"Sportspeople are public figures, we're not beyond criticism. I'm not saying I don't want to take any criticism and I'm not open to someone with a different view - that's not what I'm saying at all.

"But when someone messages me after a match that I've lost and put my heart and soul into and says 'I hope you get cancer and I hope your mother dies in a plane crash' - then I'm out."

'There are very few sports more people watch than cue sports'

Last year Murphy travelled to France as part of the campaign for cue sports to be included in the Paris Olympics in 2024.

This week it was announced that mission had not succeeded and a frustrated Murphy said: "I genuinely thought this time we had a good chance. I'm not sure how they decide what should be an Olympic sport, if it is participation or viewing figures - because if it is, cue sports and snooker in particular, are right up there.

"There are very few sports more people watch than cue sports.

"We've had no communication from these people. Trying to work out how the IOC work, together with the world governing bodies of cue sports around this planet is like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube on galloping horse, in the middle of the night, through a forest.

"They seem to move the goalposts on a whim and, if it were up to me, I wouldn't want to be part of it anymore. It's cost us far too much time and effort."