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Joe Perry: ‘Play more tournaments under a tiered structure’

Joe Perry thinks the structure of the sport at the professional level needs to change in order to help those at the bottom of the rankings.

The Englishman – who turned pro the same year as Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, and Mark Williams – believes the tiered structure that was formerly implemented at most ranking events should return.

“I have been quite vocal,” Joe Perry told Michael McMullan on the World Snooker Tour podcast earlier this week.

“It’s only because I love the game, and I want what’s best for the game. I don’t want what’s best for me, I want what’s best for the game.”

“I haven’t got many years left and I’m going to continue to watch snooker, so I want for snooker to be in a good place.

“I just think we’ve had that golden time of tournaments one after the other – the explosion in China, money everywhere, massive events – but we’ve sort of hit a bit of a plateau now.

“I think now could be the time to revert back to type. We’ve got a lot of guys down the bottom of the rankings who are struggling to make a living.

“Even though they are much better than the guys down the rankings ten years ago, they are struggling to make a living from the game.

“I think now might be the time to revert back and mix it up a little bit by playing a lot more tournaments under a tiered structure where there is guaranteed prize money.

“Take a bit of pressure off some of the guys down the bottom, because it’s tough – it is really tough down there.

“Like I say, the standard now, you can just pluck somebody out of the rankings between 90 and 100 and they are phenomenal snooker players.”

As well as discussing his friendship with recent Players Championship winner Neil Robertson and a love for Arsenal football club, Perry reflected on some of the biggest moments of his career.

The 2015 Players Tour Championship Grand Finals winner reminisced about missed opportunities in both the 2008 World Championship semi-final to Ali Carter and the 2017 Masters final against Ronnie O’Sullivan.

“Ronnie wasn’t 100% that day, especially early on,” the former world number eight said about his experience in the latter fixture.

“I was 4-1 up and had him on the ropes, and similar to the Carter game I didn’t capitalise – I didn’t sense the moment.”

“I did sense the moment, but I didn’t have it in me to push on. I probably should have come out of that session 6-2, or at worst 5-3 ahead.

“That would have given me the buffer I needed, because when I went back for the evening session it was a feeling I’ve never felt before or since.

“When I stood at the top of the stairs and they announced me for the final session of the Masters, there was 2,000 in the Ally Pally.

“It was absolutely electric, and I literally just went cold. I was so nervous and I just didn’t relax, I missed a couple of balls and just made it worse.

“I was just absolutely in shock in that evening session and had I had a buffer it would have helped, but I didn’t. It was 4-4 and Ronnie ran away to 8-4.

“It was no contest whatsoever, I just made it so easy for him. I regrouped at the interval, got back into it, and then he had to do well to win in the end.

“But that was a missed opportunity – even though I’d been playing a long, long time, I hadn’t experienced enough moments like that to be ready for that occasion.”

Featured photo credit: WST

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One Comment

  1. Yes, there do need to be structural changes. Unfortunately, WST really have no idea how to do it, and there is an incentive for them to try and help ‘the big names’ stay at the top. The problem, which is choking the game, is of course the stupid ranking system (which is supposed to be ‘simple’ but clearly is a mess). If they used an incremental system (i.e. if you win it goes up, if you lose it goes down), that would almost immediately fix all the problems in snooker, especially as it can be applied all the way down to grass-roots level, which would massively encourage participation. You can then have flat draws, tiered draws, invitationals, leagues, double-eliminations, challenge matches, … any format you like. All of them counting towards rankings, in that it provides evidence of a player’s ability.

    Joe Perry knows this. He dropped out of the top-16 in 2017 and missed the World Championship. The reason: his Masters final didn’t count. He was unfortunate that his best run was in a ‘non-ranking’ event, which just happens to be one of the most important on the calendar.

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