Musselburgh snooker player Ross Muir insists he is working harder than ever to ensure he doesn’t buckle under the pressure of the TV cameras ahead of next week’s Scottish Open in Glasgow.
The world No.69 was scathing of his performance during a 6-2 defeat by Ding Junhui at the recent Betway UK Championships – the Scot having found himself 2-1 ahead only to lose five consecutive frames to exit the competition at the second-round stage.
But not only did Muir have the current world No.5 and this year’s world championship runner-up to contend with, the former Musselburgh Grammar School pupil became only too aware that his movements around the table at the York Barbican were being scrutinised by millions watching on at home.
With the match being broadcast live by both the BBC and Eurosport, Muir admitted in the aftermath that he had allowed the occasion to get the better of him. However, since returning to his East Lothian home, the 21-year-old has done all he can to iron out those errors that proved so costly.
Muir, who faces Brazilian Itaro Santos in the first qualifying round of the German Masters today before a first-round Scottish Open match-up with Gareth Allen at the Emirates Arena on Monday, is relishing the opportunity to put all his hard work into practice.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of hours since coming back from York and I’m really starting to feel good again,” he told the Evening News. “At the end of the day the Professional Tour is that tough that you can play really well and still lose. You’ve got to take the chances when they come and that’s what I failed to do.
“I’ve been very analytical of my performance against Ding. I’ve watched the match back on both BBC and Eurosport so I’ve had the chance to see the whole thing again and take on board what the commentators (BBC’s Dennis Taylor and Willie Thorne) said. So I’ve been working to improve those areas of my game. There’s a lot of hard work being put in.
“It wasn’t the easiest of games to be playing on TV. In sport you don’t always get instant rewards. I am hopefully going to have a long and successful career, I’m only 21 so every little progress I make all contributes towards the end goal of being winning major events, pushing up the world rankings, and ultimately becoming world champion.
“It was a great experience to be playing on one of the biggest stages we have in snooker with the live TV cameras. It’s the childhood dream to experience that. But I hadn’t experienced that since I won the Junior Pot Black at the Crucible in 2009. It’s just something I’m going to have to get used to I suppose.”
Muir is pleased the Scottish Open is making its return to the professional circuit for the first time in four years in Glasgow next week having played in the competition last time out as an amateur.
“It’s my first as a professional so I’m really excited about it. It’s fantastic to be able to stay in my own home as it’s just an hour’s drive along the M8 to the Emirates Arena, so I’m pleased there are no flights or hotels involved this time,” Muir said.
“I’ll be in my comfort zone having the local support so it’s one I’ve been looking forward since they announced it would be making a return. It’s one that I really want to do well in along with the UK and World Championships. If I do get the chance to be on TV again next week then I want to prove I can handle that pressure. Results will take care of themselves if you put in the time and effort. Everyone will give you chances, even the top guys.
“Without sounding arrogant I believe I can be in that position more regularly and find myself in the deep end of tournaments. I just need to learn from these defeats and use them as an education.”