Luca Brecel
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Luca Brecel – ‘I’m tired of hearing people say I’m lazy’

Luca Brecel is motivated to rediscover the form that saw him capture the World Snooker Championship title earlier this year.

The Belgian Bullet blew hot and cold during his first-round clash with Yuan Sijun at the UK Championship on Sunday.

Brecel started slowly but later compiled a brace of century breaks to advance to the last 16 at the Barbican Centre with a 6-4 victory.

Aside from a run to the final of the Shanghai Masters in September, it has been a disappointing 2023/24 campaign for the 28 year-old.

However, Brecel is eager to build on the momentum gained so far this week, with International Championship winner Zhang Anda next up in round two.

“I’m happy to just win, but also there were some signs of good stuff in the game,” Luca Brecel told the World Snooker Tour.

“Especially the two centuries I made. The second one was quite tough to make, so a lot of positives to take.”

“A couple of negative things as well, but I think if I can cut out the little mistakes, I could be dangerous.

“I came to York this week to maybe find a little bit of confidence, get that feeling again of winning and trying to go deep in tournaments again.

“Maybe looking for that World Championship vibe again, and who knows, maybe if I play well in my next game, I’m in the quarter-finals and it could kick start my season.

“It’s 80% for myself, because obviously as a world champion, you want to be performing well and playing well.

“A lot of people come to watch you, and you don’t want to let them down. I don’t want to let myself down.

“Maybe 20% is because I’m a bit tired of hearing people say that I’m lazy or I don’t practice.

“The way people see me, they maybe think that I don’t really care at all about snooker or anything.

“Actually, it’s the total opposite. I love this game, I love playing well, and I love performing. I love winning and all of these things.

“Maybe I just want to show a bit more of the way Luca really is and try to get back in that winners’ circle.

“It’s just a mindset, it’s not even about not practicing. It’s just a mindset – going into tournaments and not really having that fire in myself.

“That’s something I’ve missed, because I love the feeling of really being under pressure, trying to win close games, and playing in big tournaments and venues.

“I just miss that feeling of winning again, and that’s why I’ve sort of knuckled down this time.”

Brecel revealed a somewhat peculiar tactic that he hopes will inspire him to perform at his highest levels again.

The world number three has bought cars worth around £400,000 in total, believing that his weakened finances will motivate him to challenge for snooker’s biggest prizes again.

“All the players who have earned quite a good amount of money can maybe understand where I’m coming from.”

“When you have too much money in the bank, you sort of need to hurt yourself a little bit.

“Buy some expensive cars, and maybe then you’ll get that feeling of needing to win again to get some money back.

“That’s what I’m trying to create. Maybe it’s going to work. I still wasn’t like I wanted to be today in the game, but hopefully I can get better now.

“I’m not saying I spent all my money, but I want to recreate that feeling of starting my career again when you don’t have a lot of money.”

Elsewhere on day two in York, Zhang held on to beat Elliot Slessor in what was the third match of the weekend to require a deciding frame.

Hossein Vafaei sent 2008 UK champion Shaun Murphy crashing out, while fellow qualifier Matthew Selt ousted Ali Carter.

On Monday, pre-tournament favourite Judd Trump enters the fray against Pang Junxu, with Mark Selby, Barry Hawkins, and Jack Lisowski the other seeds in action.

2023 UK Championship draw and results

Last 32 (bo11)

Mark Allen (1) 5-6 Ding Junhui
Tom Ford (16) 6-5 Noppon Saengkham
Mark Williams (9) 6-4 Fan Zhengyi
Kyren Wilson (8) 5-6 Jamie Clarke

Mark Selby (5) 6-0 Mark Joyce
Barry Hawkins (12) 6-4 Ben Woollaston
Jack Lisowski (13) 4-6 Jamie Jones
Judd Trump (4) 6-1 Pang Junxu

Ronnie O’Sullivan (3) 6-2 Anthony McGill
Robert Milkins (14) 6-5 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
John Higgins (11) 6-3 Joe O’Connor
Neil Robertson (6) 2-6 Zhou Yuelong

Shaun Murphy (7) 4-6 Hossein Vafaei
Ali Carter (10) 3-6 Matthew Selt
Zhang Anda (15) 6-5 Elliot Slessor
Luca Brecel (2) 6-4 Yuan Sijun

Last 16 (bo11)

Ding Junhui 6-3 Tom Ford (16)
Mark Williams (9) 6-4 Jamie Clarke
Mark Selby (5) 6-5 Barry Hawkins (12)
Jamie Jones 0-6 Judd Trump (4)

Ronnie O’Sullivan (3) 6-5 Robert Milkins (14)
John Higgins (11) 3-6 Zhou Yuelong
Hossein Vafaei 6-1 Matthew Selt
Zhang Anda (15) 6-4 Luca Brecel (2)

Quarter-Finals (bo11)

Ding Junhui 6-5 Mark Williams (9)
Mark Selby (5) 3-6 Judd Trump (4)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (3) 6-5 Zhou Yuelong
Hossein Vafaei 6-4 Zhang Anda (15)

Semi-Finals (bo11)

Ding Junhui 6-4 Judd Trump (4)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (3) 6-2 Hossein Vafaei

Final (bo19)

Ding Junhui 7-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan (3)

Featured photo credit: WST

One Comment

  1. To the rocket Ronnie o Sullivan for the match today looks good to me can not wait for the rocket good luck not that you need it

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