If four successive first round defeats don’t constitute a crisis then nothing does.

This is particularly true for Shaun Murphy, beaten 5-4 by Mike Dunn in Bahrain today, because he has been a model of consistency for the last couple of years.

Last season, he lost just one first round match.

He will go to the Maplin UK Championship next month winless since beating Dave Harold in the first round of the World Championship last April.

What went wrong?

Even the best players feel the pressure. Confidence is so important and you only need to lose a couple of matches to suddenly be under it.

The same thing happened to Mark Williams. He won his first match in 48 successive ranking events – easily a record – before finally losing to Fergal O’Brien in the 2003 UK Championship.

This one defeat precipitated a decline so rapid that it cost him his top 16 place.

There have been newspaper reports of difficulties in Shaun’s marriage.

That's entirely his business but it’s worth remembering that all players have lives away from the green baize and that they face the same problems and struggles as anyone else.

He’s too good a player not to pull himself out of this slump but these are worrying signs.

More worrying was his statement at the Grand Prix that he was happy with how he was hitting the ball.

The only way to solve a problem is to admit there is one to solve.


Anonymous said...

I like Murphy.
Also well done for not bring up the Maguire incident for once..

stuartfanning said...

You reap what you sow. At least we don't have to put up with Murphy's cockiness in interviews any more.

Matt@PSB said...

Hope he sorts it out, the game needs top quality players like him to be on their game at the moment.

Matt@PSB said...

On WSA today:

"Murphy is now looking ahead to the Maplin UK Championship. "I'm hitting the ball really well, as well as I've done in my life, I'm just not getting to five first," he said."

Certainly didn't look that way to me today, couldn't believe some of the shots he was missing.

Anonymous said...

You reap what you sow. At least we don't have to put up with Murphy's cockiness in interviews any more.>>>>

Come on, that's not fair at all. Murphy is always quotable and as far as I'm concerned is one of the brightest and well spoken of all players. In this age of dumbed down rhetoric, Murphy stands out as a shining light of reason.

Mat Wilson

Anonymous said...

Murphy seems to bring out the same emotions as Ronnie-you either love him or hate him.
Murphy has made mistakes in the past(as we all have)but his won't be forgotten.
It says more about the people now criticising him than Murphy because no one should revel in the marital troubles of anyone.
His comments after his latest defeat mirror those after most Hendry defeats.These guys will do anything to maintain a semblance of confidence.
Murphy is too good to keep losing.However he needs a win soon otherwise this season could turn into a disastrous one.He only needs to look at the likes of Dott and Robertson to see what a few defeats can do.

Anonymous said...

by his standards of the last few years this season has already been disasterous for him.

he was hitting the ball terribly during that match and he knows it.