Every snooker fan has vivid memories of the 2005 World Championship, when a 22-year-old called Shaun Murphy made a mockery of the bookies’ odds and ended the fortnight as champion.
Murphy’s World Championship victory was exceptional. Has Murphy ever used another sportsperson’s achievement as inspiration?
“Absolutely all the time,” he says. “My childhood was spent reading the books of other sportsmen and women and dreaming of emulating their achievements one day.
“Nowadays I like to look at how my sporting heroes go about their business and work out if I can use their examples to improve myself,” he adds.
Across all sports, music often plays an important part in competitors’ preparations. However, Murphy embraces music more than most.
“Music is massive for me,” he says.
“I usually have Heart Radio on in my snooker room when I’m working and I find that it helps me drift away.
“I’m a very amateur pianist on the side so I like songs with piano music in them. I tend to lean towards Elton John, Billy Joel, Keane and Coldplay,” he says.
All of Murphy’s favourite artists are great performers, as is Murphy himself. But when he’s playing in front of a big audience and the adrenaline is pumping, how often is he at risk of going too far and trying for the silly pot?
“This is something I’ve struggled with since turning pro,” he admits.
“I’ve always been aware that we are an entertainment sport at the end of the day and it is our job to entertain.
“The problem is, the ‘winning’ shots aren’t always the most entertaining and it’s a balance I still struggle with.”
These are the words of a World Champion whose nickname is ‘The Magician.’
If snooker fans have no words to reply to Shaun Murphy here, Billy Joel comes to the rescue:
“I Love You Just The Way You Are.”
Shaun Murphy was interviewed by Andrew McQuarrie for SnookerLife.wordpress.com