Snooker returns to our TV screens this weekend for the grand finals of the World Series, which are being played in the picturesque climes of the Algarve in Portugal.

It’s a great field, including world champion John Higgins, his Crucible final victim Shaun Murphy as well as Stephen Maguire, Ding Junhui, Mark Selby, Steve Davis, Ryan Day, Graeme Dott, Ken Doherty and Jimmy White.

Also in action is Luca Brecel, the talented 14 year-old winner of the recent EBSA European under 19 title.

Here’s what Higgins told the press this week about the World Series:

“We’re doing something totally different, trying to take tournaments to countries that are crying out for snooker.

“I’ve been to Copenhagen, Israel, Prague, so many places where I didn't think snooker would have existed.

“These countries are buzzing for it. Portugal has not got any great history with snooker, but the Algarve Tourist Board came to our organisation and said, 'We would love to host the final'.
“It was meant to be held in Moscow but obviously things happened with the economy.

“We were going to play in the Kremlin which would have been an unbelievable experience, but we did go over to Moscow and experienced a crowd of 1,000 people there to watch me and Ding Junhui play.

“It would mean everything if one of these countries could produce a champion in the future. We’ve got a young Belgian boy Luca Brecel, we've put him in the series.

“He’s just won the European Under-19s so we gave him a wildcard into it, so it's all going to be about giving the cream of the talent wildcards into it.

“It would be as satisfying seeing one of them win something as it would me winning it. I was over in Israel playing a young chap, Shachar Ruberg, who's 14.

“For him to get the chance to play me, he had a whole apartment renovated, in match conditions, for me to go over there and play him for a few days."

“We’re not about creating a different world champion like in boxing. We spoke to World Snooker about that.

“World Snooker is like a big ship that can’t turn around as quickly as a smaller organisation.

“They’ll maybe take a wee while to turn the ship around whereas we're like in a dinghy bouncing from one wave to the other.

“But the countries are really loving it and if at the end of the day it makes snooker more popular in these countries, everybody wins.”

In my opinion, any attempt to increase interest in snooker outside the UK – particularly on mainland Europe where it is booming – should be applauded.

Here are the Eurosport transmission times:

(all times UK)
Friday, May 8: 6.45-10.15pm
Saturday, May 9: 8.45pm-12am
Sunday, May 10: 8.30pm-12am

There's more information here.


Anonymous said...

right now John Higgins IS snooker

world champion. world number one on one year list. honoured by royalty. co-running the world series to try to help snooker flourish abroad....he carries so much on his shoulders and is just the guy to pull it off.

JIMO96 said...

Very well said Mr Higgins!

What an ambassador for the game, no wonder everyone has massive respect for him. It sounds like he, along with Pat Mooney, are doing things the right way, and slowly but surely, I can see a truly global calendar developing from these smal events.

The fact that his game remains sharp enough to win 2 of the 7 ranking events he entered last season, including the "big one", amassing a 7000 point lead in the provisional rankings for 2010 in the process, commands EVEN MORE respect!

What a legend.

Donal said...

Will this tournament be broadcast on the Internet?

mathsisfun said...

Thanks so much Dave. I wouldn't have known about this tournament without your blog.

Another chance to see Jimmy White play snooker on the telly. Whenever I get the chance I always like to see him in the qualifiers at Sheffield EIS. :-)

Sammy said...

Is Brecel gonna be on the telly?

jamie said...

If those uk dates are correct then the final is a week earlier and may clash with Sports Personality as a result which would be silly scheduling. I hope it is still going to be in Telford.

Claus Christensen said...

Praised be Higgins and Mooney. These are good times for snooker; or at least they will be soon. Getting the rest of Europe involved is a great step and they are bringing such quality players along for these events. Well done.

Chris said...

Well done to John Higgins and Pat Mooney and everybody else in the World Series team that work so hard for snooker. John Higgins does have his opinions about the way snooker is run and knows the mistakes which are made and isn't afraid to let people know, but John is actually trying to do something. World Series of Snooker is so big for the game, it is what all the players have been shouting out for and here it is.

What is the difference between Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins? John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan have their criticisms of the way the game is run, but John Higgins is the only one that ACTS to make things better, i.e World Series of Snooker. We all know that Ronnie is a snooker genius, but what has he really done to help?

Thank you, and best of luck to the World Series.

Chris (bongo from www.thesnookerforum.com)

jamie said...

Ronnie has got bums on seats and whether you like them or not attracted the casual fan to the game, who are just as important for the game's growth.

Chris said...

Jamie, I agree. But from what Ronnie was criticising in his Masters outburst (maybe explosion is the better word, he isn't doing anything like what Higgins is doing to improve things.

Monique said...

Well done John Higgins and Pat Mooney... on all grounds and wish I was there ;)

Anonymous said...

Chris, its very rare to get anywhere in a debate with Jamie as he just keeps going back to his own personal opinion and rarely states anything of substance or factual to back them up.

When he started to post in here he must have had a few hundred toys in his pram, judging by the amount hes thrown out....

andy said...

If a lot more players were proactive like Higgins, snooker would be a massive success.

Players that moan about the WPBSA, and then do absolutely nothing, only have themselves to blame.


jamie said...

I dont know whether Dave is making changes to his blog like he said it might, but if he does then hopefully it might prevent anoymous posters who squabble immaturely. Most of the posts here are opinion thats what comments are about. The facts are Ronnie does draw people in more I was at Telford for the UK and it was obvious he had the bigger crowd. That is not say the Rocket is immmune to my critcism, I think he should have shown up to one of these events and so should Stephen Hendry who I thought would have done.

Anonymous said...

if dave does bring in changes hopefully he stops folk like you:

going continually off topic

asking Dave random questions

stating your opinion (usually about ROS) and passing all of those opinions as fact, even though few are.

hopefully then, posts will be on subject, people like you wont be able to throw in ROS comments anywhere you feel, and hopefully there is a private contact for you to ask Dave what colour of boxers he thinks ROS is wearing on a particular day.


Anonymous said...

I have read in Snooker Scene many times how popular the game is in Europe and if the WPBSA won't hold an event in mainland Europe like the European Open, whih was held from France, Belgium to Holland to England - this is the best way of promoting the game and furthuring the growing interest.

Thumbs up to John Higgins, Pat Mooney and co.