Johal faces tough test against pal Robertson

Neil Robertson
Neil Robertson
Have your say

Leeds snooker player Kuldesh Johal says that the increased number of events was a vital factor in his decision to start playing again.

The 35-year-old had two seasons as a professional in 2008/09 and 2010/11, but failed to make an impact during either campaign and fell off the main tour as a result.

He subsequently quit the game after admitting to being frustrated at the lack of tournaments and opportunities available to make a decent living.

“There were only eight tournaments and it dropped down to six,” he remembers.

“There were no opportunities and you had to get to round three of an event to make any money. It was nearly impossible to make the living I wanted to make unless you were winning these events.”

Four years on, he is back with a cue in his hand and preparing for a huge showdown against former world champion Neil Robertson in the International Championship qualifiers at Barnsley Metrodome this evening.

Johal and the world number four go back a long way, having known each other since their amateur days and early professional years, and he is really excited about testing himself against Robertson with a place in the final stages in China at stake.

“I’m very good friends with Neil, I used to go and stay at his house so that I could practise with him and Joe Perry when I was taking the game seriously,” he explains.

“It’s something to look forward to, I’m not necessarily thinking about winning or losing – I’ll be back at work on Saturday morning, no matter what.

“I just want to play well to the level I’m capable of and see what happens.”

Johal, who occasionally plays at the notable Northern Snooker Centre as a hobby, runs his own post office and convenience store in Leeds nowadays, but admitted he would be keen to play in more events should regular opportunities like this present themselves.

Looking forward, should he enter Q School and subsequently qualify for the tour next May, he would organise his busy schedule to accommodate playing in the major tournaments.

“I do enjoy the pressure of playing big matches,” he said.

“It’s the sort of thing that will bring the best out of me and get me playing more. Touch wood, the business is going really well at the moment and I’ve got a lot more spare time to play.

“If I was to get through Q School, I don’t think I’d be able to go around playing in all of the European Tour events but I’d certainly put more time in for the major events.”

John Higgin.

World Championship: Crucible’s leading men continue to dominate