The Guardian

Murphy rails at amateurs in pro game after Si sees him off

- Andy Martin

Shaun Murphy reacted angrily after crashing out of the first round of the UK Championsh­ip, saying his 6-5 defeat by Si Jiahui was “not fair” and that amateurs should not be allowed to play in profession­al tournament­s.

World Snooker later issued a robust response, saying they “strongly disagreed” with Murphy’s claims.

Murphy – winner of the tournament in 2008 and runner-up at the world championsh­ip this year – had fought back from 5-1 down to force a decider against the 19-year-old Si, who fell off the main tour at the end of last season, but then spurned an opportunit­y to seal the match.

“I am going to sound like a grumpy old man but that young man shouldn’t be in the tournament,” Murphy told BBC Radio 5 live. “It is not fair … I feel extremely hard done by that I have lost to someone who shouldn’t even be in the building. I don’t know why we as a sport allow amateurs to compete in profession­al tournament­s. This is our livelihood. This is our living.

“The other 127 runners and riders in the tournament, it is their livelihood, too. It is wrong, in my opinion, to walk into somebody who is not playing with the same pressures and concerns I am.

“I am not picking on him as a young man, he deserved his victory. Amateurs should not be allowed in profession­al tournament­s, the end. Since turning profession­al at 15, I have earned the right to call myself a profession­al snooker player. He hasn’t done that.”

World Snooker Tour responded in a statement: “Si Jiahui earns a place in ranking tournament­s this season as one of the leading players on the 2021 Q School rankings.

“While he may have amateur status, he deserves his place in our events, based on his results. Amateurs play under the same rules as profession­als, they can earn prize money and places on the World Snooker Tour based on results.”

It added: “For the best young players, the chance to compete on the big stage is a crucial part of their developmen­t and the developmen­t of the sport as a whole.

“We respect Shaun’s opinions, but in this case we strongly disagree with his comments.”

 ?? ?? ▲ Shaun Murphy (left) was beaten 6-5 by 19-year-old amateur Si Jiahui
▲ Shaun Murphy (left) was beaten 6-5 by 19-year-old amateur Si Jiahui

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