Tony Drago
Main News, World Seniors Tour

‘I didn’t want to live’ – Tony Drago bravely opens up about mental health concerns

Tony Drago reached the semi-finals of the World Seniors Snooker Championship on Friday at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

The popular player from Malta, who reached a career-high of number 10 in the world rankings during his heyday in the 1990s, beat Stuart Watson 3-1 in the last eight.

Drago won the first frame with a trademark quick-fire break of 91 before adding the second frame as well to assert his early control on the contest.

However, Watson got back into the affair by winning a tight third and should have forced a decider only to miss an easy final black, which he left over the pocket.

Drago duly potted the ball to set up an exciting semi-final fixture against Igor Figueiredo.

But the 58 year-old had everyone concerned about his mental health after revealing how he has experienced a difficult period in his life of late.

“If you said to me before I came here that you’re going to be in the semi-finals, I would have probably said to go where to sun don’t shine,” Tony Drago said live on 5Action.

“Because, you know, I’m telling you, I don’t mind saying it in front of television, because it’s true.”

“I spoke to Neal [Foulds] a few months ago. I didn’t want to live. I wanted to commit suicide with my problems I had, so to be here…”

Drago, who was understandably emotional, couldn’t finish the sentence but received a warm round of applause from everyone inside the Crucible Theatre.

A professional on the main tour for three decades between 1985 and 2016, Drago was nicknamed the Tornado for his lightning speed around the table.

Recognised as one of the most naturally gifted players ever to grace the game, his wild style and a sometimes erratic temperament meant that he perhaps didn’t win the silverware that his incredible talent merited.

But Drago is now two victories away from landing a maiden title on the World Seniors Snooker Tour and a top prize worth £20,000.

“It feels great,” he later said. “I’m just a bit disappointed, because I know I’m playing well. But all of a sudden in a best of five, you make a mistake, and it’s game on.”

“It’s just, I’m one of those people unfortunately, the performance means more to me than winning.

“It’s still a great win, but I shouldn’t be going through the way I’m playing. I should be making it easier, because it was all over the place.

“I was on top, then all of a sudden, if he didn’t miss that black, he probably would have won anyway.”

Drago will have another opportunity to produce that perfect performance that he craves when he takes on Figueiredo on Saturday.

The Brazilian thrashed reigning world seniors champion Jimmy White 3-0 to comfortably continue his strong run in the tournament.

On the other side of the draw, pre-tournament favourite Ken Doherty survived a scare before emerging with a 3-2 triumph against Dechawat Poomjaeng.

The Irishman, who was a beaten finalist four years ago, will next face Barry Pinches after the latter’s 3-1 success over James Wattana.

Both semi-finals take place on Saturday before the best-of-nine frame final on Sunday in Sheffield.

2024 World Seniors Snooker Championship

Round of 16 (bo5)

Jimmy White 3-2 Andrew Norman

Igor Figueiredo 3-1 Tessa Davidson

Tony Knowles 0-3 Stuart Watson

Tony Drago 3-1 Michael Judge

Joe Johnson 1-3 Barry Pinches

James Wattana 3-2 Rodney Goggins

Darren Morgan 1-3 Dechawat Poomjaeng

Ken Doherty 3-1 Tyson Crinis

Quarter-Finals (bo5)

Jimmy White 0-3 Igor Figueiredo

Stuart Watson 1-3 Tony Drago

Barry Pinches 3-1 James Wattana

Dechawat Poomjaeng 2-3 Ken Doherty

Semi-Finals (bo7)

Igor Figueiredo 4-1 Tony Drago

Barry Pinches 1-4 Ken Doherty

Final (bo9)

Igor Figueiredo 5-2 Ken Doherty

Featured photo credit: WSS / Andy Chubb

One Comment

  1. Jay Brannon

    Drago made 10 Crucible appearances in his pro career. He never bettered his debut run to the quarters in 1988. He compiled a 144 against Ronnie O’Sullivan, in Round 2, when losing 13-4 in just 167 minutes!

    He’d remain among my top 5 favourite players to watch ever. He never won a title but the enjoyment he’s given so many snooker fans over the decades is so much more than many players who have won multiple titles. Many of his “speed” records will probably be standing for many more decades.

    Igor’s consecutive tons fould be a first on the World Seniors tour. He’s lost the only pro meeting with fellow finalist Ken Doherty. A minor ranking clash in 2010.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.