On the face of it there’s not much left to write about Steve Davis that hasn’t been said already. In 34 years on the circuit he has been one of snooker’s finest ambassadors, greatest winners and most relentlessly disciplined professionals.

The remarkable thing is that, at 55, Davis still retains an almost childlike fascination with snooker.

He has every right to have become thoroughly fed up with knocking balls around a table by now. But he hasn’t. You only have to speak to him for a few minutes to realise he remains one of snooker’s leading evangelists.

Today he plays a 16 year-old, Zhu Yinghui, at the Shanghai Masters.

Davis was one of the first professionals to play in China 30 years ago when he and his manager, Barry Hearn, explored new frontiers on and off the table.

In Shanghai in 1999 I watched him miss a dolly blue to beat his old foe Stephen Hendry. He went on to lose 5-4.

Davis disappeared after the match before turning up 20 minutes or so later for the press conference. “Sorry about that. I was upstairs in my room trying to kill myself,” he deadpanned.

Chinese press, not accustomed to his sense of humour, looked at one another with some confusion, not to say alarm.

In Beijing in 2005, at the China Open eventually won by Ding Junhui, Steve bashed his head on the thick steel door which formed the back entrance to the venue. I thought this was funny until I very quickly did the same thing.

He was so dazed by it that he had to withdraw from his match with Ricky Walden after just a few frames.

Only injury would ever cause Davis not to give it his all. He is held in respect by the other players because they see a man who has dedicated his life to his sport, who has achieved so much and who still wants to be part of it, still wants to play.

For as long as there are balls to pot, Steve Davis will be trying his hardest.


Anonymous said...

I admire him for sticking at it even now he's clearly in that tier below world class, but he's been at that level for so long he's actually been an 'average' player longer than he's been a great player. Do you think it diminishes his stature at all? I mean, when people discuss the greatest player of all-time he hardly figures in the debate these days. Personally I think Hendry made the right call, and I think the the 2010 world championship would have been a great moment for him to call it a day.

Gini said...

Well, he couldn't pack it in after the 2010 World Championships, could he? Not after Barry Hearn had come in and snooker all of a sudden had a future again.

Before that some people said he should have called it a day after reaching the UK final in 2005 - we wouldn't have been able to witness his 2010 success then. Who knows what's still in store...

As time passes his successes in the 80s would have been less and less present in people's minds anyway. Now that he keeps playing he adds to them by his remarkable longevity and the occasional upsets he causes.

I for one hope he carries on for years to come. There's no way he could decline in my estimation, particularly as he's not delusional as to what he can achieve. It's just refreshing to see he genuine love for the game amongst all the moaning that goes on.

Anonymous said...

Steve Davis is an absolute Legend, always will be.
Dean In Bermondsey.

Roland said...

He's put a white ferrule on his cue to experiment. He says at this stage of his career it doesn't matter if making such a change impacts on his game but it sure makes practicing fun.

The man is a legend in the true sense of the word. Beyond criticism when it comes to his playing career. No one has the right to say he should have retired by now and that he's hurting his legacy. He is just a guy who is passionate about snooker and cue sports in general, a true enthusiast, and who at one time in his life was the very best player in the world for a sustained period of many years. He's seen entire careers come and go and he's still standing. What a snooker player and what a great ambassdor for the game and long may it continue.

NewsFox said...

Steve is great. Unlike modern pros, he is educated and despite the success is far more grounded than what I like to call the 'moaning minions' aka Mark Allen. Ding to win this week, Mark J as my outsider. @NewsfoxSport, for anyone interested in betting/footy.

can147 said...

Steve Davis will always remain for me the "image" of snooker. He was on practically every cover of snooker literature in the 80's and 90's...so his image has been ingrained in me and to at least two generations of snooker enthusiasts to what a snooker player should look like...

Anonymous said...

You never hear a bad word about Steve from the real snooker pundits.

You know he isnt going to win it, but I rushed home this morning to watch it - and it was already 4-0 !!!

Anonymous said...

Great article and yes,Davis is the tops.Good on him,and on his day,still a tough player to beat.