Rory McLeod tells me he is looking forward to his match against Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Maplin UK Championship at Telford today.
It’s the biggest match of his career thus far as he tackles the world champion live on television in one of snooker’s oldest and most prestigious events.
Rory recognises he is not expected to win. I certainly expect O’Sullivan to progress but sport is capable of throwing up all manner of shocks so Ronnie cannot afford complacency.
(By the way, there's an excellent profile of Ronnie by my colleague Phil Yates in today's Times.)
McLeod has been a professional for 17 years, although has not been on the circuit all that time.
It took him until 2002 to make his television debut. Today’s match is only his fourth appearance in the last 32 of a ranking tournament and he is yet to go further.
But he has been consistent in recent years, not losing many opening round matches, and is currently 44th in the world – his highest ever ranking.
He is Wellingborough born and bred but spends a fair amount of time in Qatar as he coaches their national team.
He has three children, the youngest just five months, and these take up much of his time.
Rory is also the only player of Afro Caribbean descent – his parents are from Jamaica – competing on the professional circuit.
Snooker is not elitist sport. Anyone can join a club so this anomaly is hard to explain.
It’s not something Rory has ever made an issue of and he was embarrassed a few years ago when the BBC put him on the trailer for the UK Championship even though he hadn’t qualified while ignoring Stephen Hendry and Mark Williams.
Players spend many often lonely hours practising and honing their skills for matches like these.
Whatever happens against O’Sullivan, Rory should enjoy his big day.
- Coverage starts at 1pm on BBC1 and 1.45pm on British Eurosport2.