I was asked on another post about the relationship the snooker press has with the players.
I’d say it’s excellent. You don’t tend to find any of the game’s leading professionals being standoffish or unwilling to co-operate as a rule, although everyone has their off days.
When I started a decade ago, the press room seemed to be an extension of the players room: players, their managers, friends and assorted hangers on would congregate en masse.
This was handy for building relationships but the rooms tended to become crowded, noisy and not always ideal environments to work in.
The policy changed and, somewhat sadly, I think players felt discouraged from coming into the media centre at all. Certainly they seem to be less of a presence these days.
Steve Davis can usually be relied upon to pitch up at some point and play online poker at tournaments where he’s working for BBC TV. His colleague John Parrott invariably drops by for a chat and a laugh as well.
For years, Stephen Hendry was a semi-permanent fixture as well, but less so these days.
Ditto Mark Williams, although this may be a reflection of how his form has fallen away of late.
When Ronnie O’Sullivan’s in a good mood he is likely to come in; if he’s in a bad mood you won’t see him.
Ken Doherty and John Higgins – two of the real nice guys of the circuit – are likely to drop by at some point.
The lower ranked players tend to keep their distance. That said, you’ll normally get a visit from renowned diarist Michael Holt and Tony Drago seems to be a permanent presence whether he’s in the tournament or not.
It makes a snooker journalist’s job easier to have players around because it breaks down barriers between you and they hopefully realise you’re not trying to stitch them up.
Some would argue it’s all a bit cosy: they may have a point, but I’d rather it was this way than having to jump through hoops just to speak to a player, as happens in some other sports.