STEPHEN Maguire’s recent early exit at the Champion of Champions saw frustrations boil over after a run of poor form – and even hint he may have had enough of snooker.
The 33-year-old from Glasgow crashed out in the first group match at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena – going down 4-1 to Judd Trump.
Maguire, a five-time ranking event winner, was once hailed by Ronnie O’Sullivan who predicted the Scot would go on to “dominate the game for a decade”.
That never happened but hung heavy around Maguire’s neck and with just one major title in the last six and a half years he has seen his world ranking slip to No14.
And having also lost in the first round of last week’s big-money International Championship in China a miserable Maguire admitted he had hit rock bottom.
He said: “The last two or three seasons have been absolutely terrible. I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it is time if I slip down the rankings to think about doing something else.
“I am not too bothered about that match because Judd played well there but I think it is time to have a look at what I am doing in snooker, maybe look at something different.
“I will keep playing until I fall off the tour but maybe not take it as hard. I don’t know what I would do, anything away from this game.
“It hurts, and it is probably a good thing that it hurts, but it is hurting a little bit too much now and I can’t be doing with all the travelling.
“You have to tell yourself it is just a snooker match but I keep getting tough defeats and there is only so much you can take.
“I have never been in this state, not as bad as now. This is the lowest I have been ranking-wise and playing wise, I am not playing well. I will take each day as it comes.
“I won the six-reds to get in this but that doesn’t mean anything to me, that was just a fluke and it is a Micky Mouse tournament at the end of the day.
“I didn’t take any confidence from that and all the other tournaments I have had just one quarter-final, which isn’t good enough.”
For those having covered the sport for some time outbursts of this nature are not uncommon after disappointing defeats, and perfectly understandable.
At a low ebb players are asked detailed questions about where their game is at, and often they are just being honest in saying it is in a bad place.
Will Maguire quit? It is highly unlikely. History shows that a period of calm reflection at home while licking some wounds often sees the player in question realise that if they have ability and can pull things around, snooker represents an excellent way to earn a decent living.
But Maguire is under-achieving, and it could be argued that has been going on for some time. You sometimes wonder if there are other players out there who would benefit from the kind of help O’Sullivan had from Dr Steve Peters or other experts in their various fields.
Maguire might seem a good candidate given his talent and occasional temperament issues at the table, and it is not yet too late for him to win a world title, but he has confessed before to being on the ‘old-school’ wing of the sport and not so open to such techniques.
The player has of course been to the semi-finals twice at the World Championship, most recently losing to Ali Carter in 2012.
Photograph by Monique Limbos