Tom Ford
Main News, Ranking, World Championship

Top 16 player says ‘I hate watching the game, I find it boring’

Tom Ford told Stephen Hendry that he’d rather watch football than snooker on the latest episode of Hendry’s Cue Tips YouTube channel.

Ford, who has been a professional on the World Snooker Tour for more than two decades, won a World Championship match at the Crucible for the first time in his career last week.

The 40 year-old beat Ricky Walden to reach the second round in Sheffield, where he was subsequently denied a quarter-final spot by Judd Trump.

But world number 14 Ford is unlikely to be tuning into the rest of the sport’s blue-riband tournament, saying that he’s more likely to be found in the local boozer after a defeat.

This season’s International Championship runner-up was among a group of star players who were debating random topics with Hendry on the eve of the ongoing World Championship.

“I strongly disagree, because I just can’t stand watching the game,” Tom Ford said on Stephen Hendry’s Cue Tips when asked if it’s possible to watch snooker just for fun.

“I hate watching the game. If I get beat, you’ll find me in the pub. Even as a kid, I just never enjoyed watching the game.”

“I don’t know if it was Willie Thorne and Cliff Thorburn who put me off when I first came here, but I’ve never been one for watching the game.

“Even when a couple of friends have been playing, I might watch the last ten or 15 minutes of it. It’s horrible to say, but I find the game boring.

“I can’t sit there and watch a full game, because I’m thinking I just want to put the football on. Just get me away from it all.”

Trump, meanwhile, disagreed with Hendry on another topic of whether snooker should ditch waistcoats and bow ties, a subject he has been outspoken about before.

“To be honest, I don’t enjoy the way it looks,” this season’s five-time ranking event winner said.

“But it also hampers how well I’m able to play. I don’t feel relaxed enough, I feel a bit uptight – the suit is very tight and things like that.”

“So I think my standard goes up when I’m not wearing it in other events. It doesn’t appeal to me. I’m someone who has always been of the mindset that I want to get fans more involved.

“So if you’re able to wear a shirt supporting your favourite player, rather than just one individual as a sport, if you’re able to wear like Trump, O’Sullivan, Hendry, I feel that would bring the game more up to scratch.

“I can certainly see your point of view as well. When you were at your prime, it was the whole identity of snooker.

“I don’t mind if the waistcoats and that stay for this one competition – the World Championship has always been special – but I would like to see a bit more of it away from other events.”

Trump was also asked if he thought there’d be a Chinese world champion in the next ten years.

This has been a familiar topic to discuss for the best part of 20 years, ever since Ding Junhui burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s.

While Ding reached the final in 2016 and Si Jiahui came within two frames of matching that run a year ago, snooker-loving China is still waiting for that ultimate breakthrough moment.

This year, no Chinese contender, or any player outside England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland for that matter, will reach the quarter-finals of the World Championship.

“I think Si has got potential if he’s able to recognise what he’s doing wrong,” Trump, who beat Si to win the German Masters in February, said.

“I certainly think he’s got the potting ability and break-building ability. It’s just whether he’s able to get it in his head that he needs to play safe.”

“I’m not sure whether some of the Chinese players have not been able to fully comprehend to take themselves to that next level.

“They kind of have their game, and it stays with them for their career. I still feel like there’s going to be someone who comes around and blows us away, though.

“I feel like maybe that’s about ten years away, where someone is going to come through in the likes of what you did or Ronnie did.

“I don’t feel it’s as easy to do nowadays, it’s never going to be coming in and blasting seven or eight world titles. I don’t think that’s going to happen.

“But some of the Chinese players now have that freedom. They were all a bit robotic before. Now they look a bit more natural.

“I feel like there’s going to be that one player that really comes and storms through.”

Hendry additionally chatted with Mark Allen about Ronnie O’Sullivan’s cue action, with the Scot expressing his opinion that although he’s the best player of all time, he doesn’t possess the greatest cue action ever.

“I think his cue action is unique to him,” Hendry said. “I don’t like the way he aims down on the cue ball. I think because he’s so talented, he gets away with it.”

“I think if you taught someone to do that, they’d be putting unwanted side all over the ball, and it’d be very hard to control.

“I mean we’re nitpicking with the greatest player of all time, but whenever he misses it’s a decel (deceleration), because he has got that long backswing.

“If you’re talking about the techniques of the cue action, there are faults in it.

“If you look at Neil Robertson – if you were going to build a snooker player, he’d probably be up there.”

“There’s a lot of movement,” Mark Allen replied. “But what I would say about Ronnie, if you just took this one aspect of his cue action, his final delivery, there’s zero movement.”

“It’s just straight through, it’s perfect. The final delivery is just perfect. Everything before that is far from perfect, and it’s something you definitely wouldn’t teach.

“The talent that he has – and there must be hard work to go with it – helps him through and helps him to get away with it.”

Allen and O’Sullivan are two of eight players who are vying for the four remaining spots in the quarter-finals of the 2024 World Snooker Championship on Monday.

The Antrim man leads John Higgins 9-7 while O’Sullivan enjoys more of a cushion thanks to his 10-6 advantage over Ryan Day.

Kyren Wilson and Stuart Bingham are also well poised to progress in the competition having orchestrated 10-6 and 9-7 leads over Joe O’Connor and Jack Lisowski respectively.


2024 World Snooker Championship Draw

Round 1 (bo19)

Luca Brecel (1) 9-10 David Gilbert
Robert Milkins (16) 10-9 Pang Junxu
Ali Carter (9) 7-10 Stephen Maguire
Shaun Murphy (8) 10-5 Lyu Haotian

Mark Selby (5) 6-10 Joe O’Connor
Kyren Wilson (12) 10-1 Dominic Dale
John Higgins (13) 10-6 Jamie Jones
Mark Allen (4) 10-6 Robbie Williams

Judd Trump (3) 10-5 Hossein Vafaei
Tom Ford (14) 10-6 Ricky Walden
Zhang Anda (11) 4-10 Jak Jones
Mark Williams (6) 9-10 Si Jiahui

Ding Junhui (7) 9-10 Jack Lisowski
Gary Wilson (10) 5-10 Stuart Bingham
Barry Hawkins (15) 8-10 Ryan Day
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) 10-1 Jackson Page

Round 2 (bo25)

David Gilbert 13-4 Robert Milkins (16)
Stephen Maguire 13-9 Shaun Murphy (8)

Joe O’Connor 6-13 Kyren Wilson (12)
John Higgins (13) 13-12 Mark Allen (4)

Judd Trump (3) 13-7 Tom Ford (14)
Jak Jones 13-9 Si Jiahui

Jack Lisowski 11-13 Stuart Bingham
Ryan Day 7-13 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Quarter-Finals (bo25)

David Gilbert 13-8 Stephen Maguire
Kyren Wilson (12) 13-8 John Higgins (13)

Judd Trump (3) 9-13 Jak Jones
Stuart Bingham 13-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Semi-Finals (bo33)

David Gilbert 11-17 Kyren Wilson (12)
Jak Jones 17-12 Stuart Bingham

Final (bo35)

Kyren Wilson (12) 18-14 Jak Jones

Click here for the latest live scores and session times.


Featured image credit: Stephen Hendry’s Cue Tips

2 Comments

  1. Jay Brannon

    Ronnie is not beholden of an action as straight and true as a Robertson or Murphy but no player gets through a ball more beautifully than O’Sullivan.

    The Rocket through to a record-extending 22nd quarter-final some 29 years after his first. He’s lost at the quarter-final stage more than any other round. The seven men to have beaten him at that stage are John Higgins (twice), Stephen Hendry, Peter Ebdon, Luca Brecel, Ding Junhui, Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham.

  2. Jay Brannon

    I have to say it slightly irks me how many snooker players don’t enjoy watching the sport. Hendry himself has said he wasn’t a big watcher until he started getting paid for it.

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