Yesterday, it transpired on social media that the Shanghai Masters will not be held in Shanghai, but in some remote(r) place with no airport … implying additional travel/transport for the players. And the format, that used to be tiered, is now a 128 flat draw, like almost every event in the calendar nowadays.
Django Fung wasn’t impressed, as wasn’t Judd Trump. This is Django on twitter, including some retweets off Judd’s feed.
I hope its not true. I had
@judd147t crying on the phone when he heard the news. SH and BJ are the best two venue
And they are changing it to a place you can’t even fly there. Some chinese people haven’t heard of the place.
different class shanghai was only tournament I look forward to
Bring back the shanghai masters!!!
Leaning the news, Ronnie embarked in a right rant on twitter:
I think it’s a joke. I can’t even enter now, due to clash of dates.
Once again very poor communication between world snooker and the players regarding Shanghai, car boot sale standards as usual
I know I heard judd was crying about the news of Shanghai moving to a city no one knows
After HK scenario players may have to get together again
It should be a rule that if you can’t fly there, you can’t play there
Another joke taking manchester to Barnsley
Yeah ..you now have to qaulify..and I’ve already booked the dates out Can you imagine federer and nadal having to qaulify for main events
That’s why I don’t play as much..until they sort it out I’ll play as little as I can get away with.
Yeah I’ve got loads on so snooker can wait for a bit.. I’ll play in events where I don’t have to go and qaulify
I’m not in the European open either we can put some nights in there too.. we can have a laugh and entertain the snooker fans
Well, that’s a big shame indeed!
To what extend Ronnie will act upon what he tweeted remains to be seen of course, but he will definitely NOT be at the European Masters because he’s already committed to events in the UK during that week. Last season he didn’t enter any of the European events, except the European Masters that was held by a sponsor he has a good relationship with, and I don’t expect it to be any different this season. And it is very possible that, true to his tweets, he gives the “Shanghai Masters”, not being held in Shanghai, a miss as well. He’s not a fan of traveling at the best of times anyway and making that part of the job harder for the players won’t endear him! So maybe that’s our Ronnie just now … in his Shanghai gown but chilling at home.
What do I make of all this?
Foul. Well, as I wrote, it’s a big shame. Shanghai is a great, great city, it’s easy to reach and the hospitality is fantastic. I had the privilege to be invited to the tournament in 2012 and it’s an experience I will never forget.I was made very welcome by the organisers … and the fans. I think it’s important for the image of an event that it’s held in a surrounding that has class, and it’s important for the fans too, that transport and accommodations are easy and quality and that there is also something for them outside the snooker itself. This is why, like Ronnie yesterday, I had expressed doubts about the move of the English Open from Manchester, a big city with an airport, to Barnsley, best known as a qualifying venue.
But there is more. The Shanghai Masters was going to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year: indeed it was first held in 2007, when Dominic Dale famously sported a spiked, blond dyed hairdo and sang “My Way” during the presentation ceremony! To move it and disfigure it is probably the worst anniversary gift this great event could get. I write “disfigure” because this was one of the rare events still having a tiered structure, giving it a distinctive feel, for once giving the lower ranked players a longer but more progressive route to the main stage instead of a brutal first round clash against a top 64 opponent, and giving the top players and the sponsors the certainty that the cream would be at the event provided they enter. Barry Hearn never liked it, he’s always said he would make it flat draw at the first opportunity, namely the renegotiation of the contract. And he did. He’s always right isn’t he? (thoughts of the ranking shootout going through my mind as I type … )
Miss. Regarding the European Masters, it’s going to be held in Lommel, in my own country, Belgium, as announced by Worldsnooker, this season. It’s been over 20 years since Belgium last hosted a full ranking event… and I will miss it. Not because anything related to Ronnie or snooker, but because, having a family spread over two countries, I will not be in Belgium at the time and it’s too late for me to change the arrangements especially as I’m not the only one involved.