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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Andy Hicks: ‘I can nonetheless compete with high boys’ says snooker veteran

Andy Hicks
Andy Hicks made the semi-finals of the World Championship on his debut in 1995 – a feat not repeated by a debutant till this 12 months, when Si Jiahui reached the final 4

Andy Hicks says he nonetheless has what it takes to compete in opposition to the perfect gamers in snooker.

The 49-year-old Devon-born participant, who trains in Cornwall, is ranked 59 on the earth and has been an expert for greater than three a long time.

He reached the quarter-finals of the UK Championship in 2021 and the second spherical of this 12 months’s Welsh Open.

“Attending to the quarter-finals of the UK Championship was a pinnacle for me a few years in the past,” he mentioned.

Hicks advised BBC Radio Devon: “That was just a little little bit of perception then, I truly performed fairly good snooker by way of that match and that gave me a bit extra perception that I do know I can nonetheless compete in opposition to the highest boys.

“It simply turns into just a little bit tougher, you lose that consistency I believe as you get a bit older, however usually I really feel like I am enjoying fairly good snooker and I really feel like I can compete nonetheless.”

Hicks made a reputation for himself in rating occasions within the early a part of his profession, reaching the semi-finals of the European Open and Dubai Traditional in 1993 earlier than dropping to Nigel Bond within the final 4 of the 1995 World Championship – and Ronnie O’Sullivan on the identical stage of the 1996 Masters.

He dropped out of the principle World Snooker Tour in 2013 however returned to the world’s high 64 in 2019 after qualifying by way of Q College.

Residing close to Launceston in Cornwall Hicks is compelled to journey lengthy distances to most of his occasions, one thing which takes its toll as he will get older.

“As a result of a whole lot of the matches are better of seven that is a superb factor for people who find themselves just a little bit older on the tour, as a result of it is not taking a lot out of you each day.

Graeme Dott shakes hands with Andy Hicks
2006 world champion Graeme Dott beat Andy Hicks within the penultimate spherical of qualifying for this 12 months’s World Championship

“I discover it a bit extra tiring practising, however I maintain myself pretty match in order that’s probably not a difficulty, it is extra the journey aspect of it for me.

“Each time I am going to a match, as a result of most of them are up nation it is no less than a 4 or 5 hour journey, and that undoubtedly takes it out of me extra so nowadays than it ever used to.

“I usually journey up on the day earlier than, however I do not practise once I rise up there like I used to, I simply usually sit back after which practise simply earlier than my match.”

With Hicks just some locations above the cut-off for maintaining his tour card for one more 12 months, he has considered a future with out snooker – though he says he won’t surrender right away.

“If I play this season and I fall off the tour – as a result of I’ve been competing at a excessive degree all season, albeit I in all probability would not have executed that nicely this season – I believe I might in all probability go to Q College and see the way it went from there, simply to see if I may get again on.

“If I did not get again on by way of Q College I believe I might just about retire for sure.

“I turned professional once I was 17, for those who’d mentioned I used to be nonetheless a professional coming as much as 50 I might have laughed at you at 17,” he added.

“All you are pondering at a younger age is ‘hopefully I will do OK’, you by no means assume it’ll on 30-plus years.”

Signal as much as My Sport to observe snooker information on the BBC app.

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