Stephen Maguire and Shaun Murphy are never going to be best friends. This undoubtedly sharpens their on table rivalry and, for snooker, this is a good thing.
The ‘chalkgate’ incident has been done to death and should be put to bed but that doesn’t mean no one should point out the differences in personality between these two talented players.
Because today’s China Open final in Beijing is as much a personality clash as a meeting of two fine cuemen.
Maguire tends to wear his heart on his sleeve. Like Graeme Dott, he uses negative feelings as a positive. This is the first time he’s played Murphy in a final but you suspect it’s always a final to him when they clash cues.
Murphy is a more laid back character. He’s a great professional and a credit to his sport but not everyone’s cup of tea, certainly not Maguire’s if past quotes are anything to go by.
Snooker is a friendly sport. Yes, of course there are rows and bust-ups but most of the top players get on.
Socially, this is a good thing but all sports need rivalries and not just ones that end in the arena.
In snooker, of course, the players are warned by their governing body not to allow any off table enmity to surface in the public domain but when this does happen it only adds to the times when they do play.
Maguire and Murphy will always be rivals. Ahead of today’s Beijing final it was four apiece in career wins and I suspect there won’t be much between them at the end of their careers.
The late John Spencer, three times the world champion, once said he couldn’t understand why the top players that followed him practised together.
There’s little danger of Maguire and Murphy doing this.