Shaun Murphy has suggested that snooker’s governing bodies may be skimping when it comes to trying to eliminate kicks and bad bounces, and improving playing conditions.
The 34-year-old cruised into his first Betway UK Championship semi-final for four years with a 6-1 thrashing of Belgian prodigy Luca Brecel.
It was revenge for a 4-0 drubbing in Belfast at the hands of the 21-year-old last month that saw Murphy score just eight points.
But afterwards world No6 Murphy launched into a pointed attack on World Snooker and the WPBSA, insisting they are letting down players through inactivity.
Murphy has led a campaign to reduce kicks and bad bounces, by use of ball cleaners or polishers – or new sets for every match.
The 2008 UK winner said: “Making the conditions better is completely within World Snooker’s control. I can only assume it is finance, we get a certain amount of balls from suppliers.
“I am sure the public assume we play with a brand new set every match in every event, and would be shocked to know that hardly ever happens.
“We should have the best possible chance to perform. I am tired of banging my head on a brick wall with these people over it having done the scientific research.
“I wouldn’t like to call the governing body cheapskates – but what could be more important than the playing conditions?
“It is the equivalent of not cutting the grass at Wimbledon.
“Of all the areas to cut and make changes, playing conditions are not one of them. We are trying to entertain, and they are not helping us.
“I am pleased to be through but very disappointed with the playing conditions, it made us both look very silly. They expect one set of balls to last several matches - and it doesn’t.
“There was a ball-cleaner trial two years ago which saw a drastic improvement in kicks and bad bounces, and a ball-polisher with no cleaning product in it.
“That machine is not in use this week, and this is the second-biggest tournament in the world. It is very difficult when you know you are right and the whole tour back me.
“The whole tour back me on this, and it is very frustrating trying to get the governing body to take the information on board and I don’t understand why they won’t change.”
WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson, though, responded immediately – insisting that Murphy’s claims of total backing from players were simply not true, and that even new sets of balls for every match was not a panacea for bad bounces and kicks.
He said: “Our feedback indicates that the majority of players on the tour do not agree that using polish on the balls would improve playing conditions.
“Using the polish would be a drastic change to the way the balls play. There is no certainly that it would create more consistent conditions and the majority of players are against it.
“This season we are using a new anti-static cloth, produced by our partners WSP textiles, which has led to a significant reduction in the number of kicks.
“I have had a lot of comments from players this season saying that playing conditions have improved, despite the fact that we stage events all over the world in some very challenging locations.
“There is no certainty that having a new set of balls for every match would improve conditions.
“At the World Championship last season we used a new set of balls for every match and the feedback was mixed.”