Graeme Dott and Michael Holt used to argue about who was the worst player when the snooker circuit travelled to China.

It was an argument Dott eventually lost when he won the China Open last season.

His mindset had, of course, been altered by having won the 888.com World Championship in 2006.

It heralded a huge improvement in form and fortunes. Last season, Dott not only conducted himself professionally as world champion but he played the best snooker of his career.

However, this season it has all gone wrong. He has failed to win any of his last 14 matches.

Indeed, his last victory was way back at the Shanghai Masters last August.

Why? In this article Dott mentions some personal problems. He suffered great anxiety when his wife, Elaine, had a cancer scare that mercifully transpired to be nothing more than a scare but Dott was obviously affected when his manager and father-in-law Alex Lambie passed away.

He also expended mental energy fighting World Snooker's absurd attempt to discipline him for making comments about Ian McCulloch at the launch of the 2007 Grand Prix.

Losing, like winning, can become a habit but Dott will know that his two appearances in the Crucible final - in 2004 and 2006 - came off the back of similarly disappointing runs of form.

He will go to Sheffield fresher than most so anyone writing off his title chances should be wary.

Dott, who in 2002 endured a hellish 36-hour journey to the China Open in Shanghai, after which he overslept because of jetlag and arrived late for his match, whereupon his was docked two frames, has gone to China early this year.

He is undertaking promotional work, part of his new approach to playing in this snooker-mad country.

Good for him and good luck to him in the tournament. An upturn in fortunes will come at some point.

Beijing would be as good a place as any.


Anonymous said...

Amazing to think he has won one match in Britain since December 2006.

Donal said...

Actually, what I find more amazing is the fact that he ever won the world championship in the first place. IMO he's the weakest player ever to lift the crown. If I recall correctly he made less than 5 century breaks dring the whole tournament and 0 in the final (about 30 frames), which is a remarkably poor statistic.

I'm not saying he didn't deserve the title, in many ways the fact that he's a player of limited ability makes his victory all the more admirable, but he's not exactly Stephen Hendry's natural successor, is he?

Anonymous said...

So what if he didn't make any centuries in the final. I am pretty sure Hendry/O'Sullivan/Higgins probably couldn't make centuries where the balls ended up in most of the frames. I still can't believe people are denying him the credit he deserves.

Anonymous said...

Credit he most certainly deserves, but he should have kept his mouth shut when losing to McCulloch. Nobody likes a bad loser, which is what he was on that occasion. Nevertheless, those at World Snooker elect to admonish him while looking the other way whenever O'Sullivan utters his usual nonsense, which is practically every time he loses a match. Double standards.