Shaun Murphy
Ranking, Snooker Headlines

Shaun Murphy – ‘That is one of the laziest pieces of journalism’

Shaun Murphy didn’t pull any punches as he defended himself against accusations that he sometimes loses his concentration in matches.

The Magician was speaking in the ITV studio after completing a 6-3 victory over Mark Selby in the first round of the Players Championship on Tuesday.

Murphy was the better player in the contest and potted some excellent long balls, but there were several easier pots that were unexpectedly missed as well.

When questioned by ITV presenter Jill Douglas on whether or not this was down to a lapse in concentration on his part, the former world champion responded with frustration.

“I think ‘lapses in concentration’ and accusing players of that is one of the laziest pieces of journalism in the world,” Shaun Murphy rebuffed.

“For people out there in snooker land to think that, at the most important part of a frame or match, my concentration wanders is ridiculous.”

“There are some interesting technical reasons why you miss those balls – the one with the rest in the fourth frame was (because) I just hate straight shots.

“The ball doesn’t want to go in a straight line, and to hit the ball straight everything has to be perfect. I hate those shots.

“And the black, when I was just cueing over the red and was raising down, I play with an 8.75mm tip.

“If I don’t strike the cue ball perfectly, it doesn’t go in a straight line and you could miss anything. I should have potted it, but I didn’t.

“It is one of those things that gets my goat. We were talking about Llandudno and the goats – well, this one gets mine.

“You don’t lose your concentration. You might be thinking about the cannon, but you are focussed.

“It’s the most important game of the season. At this time, you’re thinking about Tour Champs and qualification, it’s so important. To accuse players of wandering off is ridiculous.”

Murphy had earlier reflected on a strong win over Selby that included breaks of 92, 75, and 72 as he bounced back from the disappointment of losing in the Welsh Open final on Sunday.

“If you’d offered me at breakfast this morning a 6-5 win on a respotted black, I’d have taken it.”

“I think any win against Mark Selby, you put it down and say that was a good day. There was a lot of good snooker played in that match.

“I was having a quick look at my stats – my stats were pretty solid. There were just a few little moments of madness where I missed an easy shot or made a mistake.

“It just somewhat took the shine off what was really a good performance.”

Elsewhere on day two of the competition in Wolverhampton, Robert Milkins prolonged his magnificent run of form with a 6-5 defeat of Tom Ford.

The Milkman had barely touched a cue since capturing his second ranking title in Llandudno on Sunday, but he emerged from a decider with a timely run of 74.

Ali Carter will be the 46 year-old’s opponent in the quarter-finals after the German Masters champion held off Judd Trump in another fixture that lasted the distance.

Kyren Wilson also booked his spot in the last eight courtesy of a 6-2 defeat of Zhou Yuelong.

The first round concludes on Wednesday afternoon with Jack Lisowski entertaining Luca Brecel and Ding Junhui facing Gary Wilson.

Players Championship Draw

Last 16

Joe O’Connor 6-3 Mark Allen
Luca Brecel vs Jack Lisowski (Wed, 1pm)
Ali Carter 6-5 Judd Trump
Robert Milkins 6-5 Tom Ford

Kyren Wilson 6-2 Zhou Yuelong
Ding Junhui vs Gary Wilson (Wed, 1pm)
Shaun Murphy 6-3 Mark Selby
Ryan Day 6-2 Chris Wakelin

Featured photo credit: WST


  1. Michael Waring

    Personally, I think Shaun is talking about something quite different when he talks about concentration.
    I’ve always thought that commentators mean concentrating on the shot being played. But Shaun’s comments seem to suggest he thinks they are talking about something fundamentally different.

    He said himself
    “You don’t lose your concentration. You might be thinking about the cannon, but you are focussed.
    It’s the most important game of the season. At this time, you’re thinking about Tour Champs and qualification, it’s so important. To accuse players of wandering off is ridiculous.”

    Thinking about the cannon and/or thinking about another tournament, does indeed mean that you are not concentrating on the shot you are playing.

    Maybe Shaun thinks he’s being accused of thinking about something totally unrelated, like ‘what’s for dinner?’ or ‘who pinched my chocolate orange?’ or ‘when am I next doing a podcast?’ or anything else related or not.

    Overall, a simple case of talking at cross purposes.

    Ken Doherty didn’t agree with Shaun and Neil Foulds looked like he daren’t speak for fear of what he might say!

    • It was a bit of a bizarre rant. To say that snooker players, or any professional sportsperson, would never have a lapse in concentration that might negatively impact a performance is just ludicrous. Nobody is a robot.

      What I can understand is the problem of commentators/pundits just going to their default setting. I’d say a very, very high percentage of missed pots are attributed to either lapses in concentration or kicks, which is a bit of a lazy analysis. Murphy’s right when he says there are technical reasons for missing a shot, although you could argue that if players make a technical mistake it’s because they’re not focusing enough…

  2. Dennis Taylor is definitely guilty of attributing misses to a lack of concentration or a kick (less now that kicks are rarer).

    I agree with DC that’s ludicrous to say concentration is not a factor in sporting error. Murphy acknowledges this in his own game during a featurette he’s made with Stephen Hendry as part of the BBC coverage for this season.

    I rate Foulds highly but Doherty deserves praise for being the one to challenge Murphy’s comments.

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