Coronavirus: Dave Gilbert says players need World Championship on

By Shabnam Younus-JewellBBC Sport
Dave Gilbert
Dave Gilbert reached the semi-final of the 2019 World Championship

World number 11 Dave Gilbert says snooker players need the World Championship to go ahead, even if it is in September.

The event, due to take place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield from 18 April to 4 May, was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, with organisers hoping to reschedule it in the summer.

"I just hope it's on, whether it's May, June, July, August or September," Gilbert, who reached the semi-final of the sport's showpiece event in 2019 for the first time in his career, said.

"For the players, it's our biggest event of the year, the one with the biggest prize fund, we need it to be on definitely.

"The only worry with not having a table at home is I might be a bit rusty but I certainly won't worry about that.

"It'll definitely help some players who can practice at home, I'm someone that can't get away with just knocking about and I'm sure a lot of other people will be in the same boat."

Behind closed doors?

World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn has said he is exploring the potential to stage tournaments behind closed doors to keep the circuit alive and allow players to earn prize money.

Gilbert says it would be very useful to get some table time before the rescheduled World Championship but he is not getting his hopes up.

"In an ideal world that would be great, but I'm not so sure it'll be possible," the 38-year-old added.

"If the World Championship goes ahead, I'm happy if that's the next time we get our cues out."

Since the coronavirus outbreak, two other lucrative ranking events in March were also postponed.

The China Open, which has a total prize fund of £1m, was called off along with the Tour Championship in Llandudno, which has been provisionally rescheduled for July.

"The amount of money and opportunities we're losing is quite bad but it's terrible for everyone isn't it?" Gilbert, who lives in Tamworth with his wife Abigail and their young daughter Taylor, added.

"Everyone thinks I've got a few quid at the minute so I'm alright but it's still very scary for me and Abi, we've got a mortgage to pay and a tax bill.

"Obviously the lower down the rankings lads, anyone with families and kids, I know Elliott Slessor's got a newborn, for them I'm sure it's a real struggle.

"It's a terrible situation and I just hope the UK starts taking it seriously and we get this dealt with as soon as we can, not have people carrying on as normal, which is a bit weird and wrong really."

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