SHAUN Murphy admits his impressive season so far is missing just one thing: silverware.
And the 30-year-old is hoping that he can end his barren run, and in the process complete snooker’s elusive Triple Crown, at next week’s Masters in London.
The former Rotherham potter finished runner-up at both the UK Championships and the Masters last year, results that have seen him climb the world rankings to fourth. And ahead of his return to the Alexandra Palace, Murphy is desperate to join the list of only seven players in the history of snooker who have won the Triple Crown of the UK Championships, The Masters and the most prestigious of all, the World Championships.
“I would assess my first half of the season pretty well, I’ve been to a final and a few semi-finals, gone up to No.4, the only thing I need now is a trophy for the season” he said. “Before Christmas I had a good run in the UK with a lot of practice and since Christmas I’ve put some good work in. You enter these events to win, but to come runner-up is no disgrace. The Masters is the only current one of the big three tournaments I haven’t won and I’d love it if I could complete that Grand Slam set.
“I got to the final last year and lost to a class player (Neil Robertson) so if I can go one better that would be great.”
First up for the 2005 World Champion is world no.13 Ricky Walden on Tuesday and Murphy knows what a tough test he represents. “Ricky is a class player who will make it very difficult” he added.
“Every match at the Masters could easily be a final at most other tournaments, the atmosphere is great as London crowds are just more boisterous.
“It’s the only time snooker goes near London and you have to be on your game right from the off.
“I didn’t like Wembley Arena all that much, it was too big. I haven’t heard a bad word about the Ally Pally from last year.”
British Eurosport is the Home of Snooker, showing 19 tournaments this season including the World Championship, UK Championship, the Masters and all ranking events, available on Sky (410/411) and Virgin Media (521/525) or online/on mobile via eurosportplayer.co.uk