German Masters 2018 – Qualifiers


The two rounds of qualifying matches for the German Masters 2018 were played last week and, as a result, only seven of the top 16 players will be at the iconic Tempodrom: Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Ding Junhui, Shaun Murphy, Barry Hawkins, Mark Allen and Mark Williams. Ronnie withdrew for medical reasons, John Higgins didn’t enter – which surprising went completely under the radars – and the others got beat. Maybe the most surprising defeats were Anthony McGill losing by 5-2 to Jimmy White and Ali Carter going out to Wang Yuchen.

At least the defending Champion, Anthony Hamilton, will be in Berlin, something that isn’t guaranteed, contrary to what happens for the Chinese events

From what I read on social media, Ronnie withdrawal, as well as a number of top players going out early over the last three editions, have a very negative impact on the tickets sales for the event. For the first three days only 1/3 of the seats were taken, and people were cancelling their plans to be there. This is a shame, and it’s unfair on everyone, the promoters and sponsors putting a lot of efforts into this, the European fans who don’t have that many events on mainland Europe soil as it is, and the players themselves.

Let me explain the last point: the top players are the ones who usually make it to the business end of tournaments, therefore they are the ones who will be most tired at the end of a very hectic first half of the season. For them to have to play two qualifying matches, at a venue that Neil Robertson compared to a morgue because there is no atmosphere (especially at this time of the year when people are busy preparing the festive holidays rather than attending snooker matches), well, it’s hard, and probably the combination of tiredness and low motivation explains why so many fail to get through. The schedule of those qualifiers is damning, and, in my opinion actually endangers the future of the tournament itself. Just as an example, based on the data available on Cuetracker, John Higgins has played 48 matches this season already, Hammad Miah has played 19, and remember that latter stages of tournaments also means longer matches. So maybe it isn’t that surprising that John gave it a miss, or that Ronnie who was in 5 finals, and won three, over about 8 weeks, traveling back and forth between China and UK, fell asleep in his chair during the Scottish Open and ultimately was probably simply too tired to compete properly in this one.

The explanation the authorities will probably give us is that there is no other spot in the calendar. Yes, the calendar is packed, including events like the Championship League Snooker, a competition tailor made for the bookies, as is also the farce – the ranking farce! – that is the Shootout. Which brings another source of worry (for me at least), namely the how much snooker is relying on the gambling/betting industry for its sponsoring and its financial survival. What if the gambling industry was clamped on like the tobacco industry was a few years ago?  I don’t see that there is a plan B for snooker should that happen. And you shouldn’t rule it out, betting and gambling are a huge and increasing social issue, with people lead by the constant advertising on television and social media by an industry that is worth billions but has only one morale: profit. Some are seriously thinking about it, even in the most lucrative sport of them all: football.

here are some links … food for thoughts


7 thoughts on “German Masters 2018 – Qualifiers

  1. Hard to disaegree.
    The structure is bad needs to rethink! 128 from the main venue or the whole tournament in Barnsley (ahead of 5 peoples)!
    I can see why Ronnie has decided to not to play there I can understand why Higgins has decided to not to play there…
    Plus I can see the reason of the ohers surprising results there…

    Anyway it’s a Christmas time!
    Happy Xmas Happy Holidays to everyone and thanks to Monique for the informations 🙂 xxx

  2. Something just has to be done about this lopsided schedule. We’ve just come off the back of an overcrowded 2 months, and now, for most players outside the top 32, they might have only one match in the next 2 months, a qualifier for the China Open (held in April).

    For many top players (e.g. Mark Selby), the season is just warming up. For some notable talents (e.g. Sam Craigie and Zhao Xintong) they are pinning their hopes on April to salvage their careers.

  3. If gambling-related sponsorship were to fall through, I suppose the most likely alternative would be sponsors (of whatever type) in China. That seems to be the direction the game is moving already, with increasing numbers of tournaments being played in China each season now.

    It’s not difficult to imagine a day in the not-too-distant future when the majority of players on the tour are Chinese, and the majority of tournaments are played in their homeland…

  4. I think it is a really bad decission from world snooker to put this qualifying on the end of a long and hard time.
    I was very disappointed that Ronnie has withdrawn but on the ohter side I did not expect that he would be successfully to qualify! I can tell you an exemple how unfair it is for the fans: We live in Austria and my neighbours and friends will go to Berlin, they wanted to do this last year but they couldn’t go, now they looked forward very much to see Ronnie, Neil Robertson und Higgings!!! and none of them is there.

    This bad time for qualifying for a tournement 2 month later is really very unfair for the fans in Europa outside of England and we are very angry!!
    Excuse me, that I write this angry thougts to you, but I cannot tell it to worldsnooker and I am afraid, they would not be impressed of thoughts from fans!!
    Dear Monique, I thank you for all the informations on this page and also for your good und right thoughts.
    I want to wish you a merry christmas and a happy and healthy new year!

    • As I have said before, the solution is very simple. The majority of tournaments should operate on an invitational basis.

      So the German Masters could contain, for example: the top 10 ranked players, Anthony Hamilton, Lukas Kleckers, Simon Lichtenberg, Luca Brecel, Arnie Ursenbacher, plus players from various pro-am qualification events held in England, Germany, China to fill the draw.

      With a proper global ranking system, it would be possible. With the current system tied to tour-cards and money-lists, you can’t because of the problems it causes lower ranked professionals.

  5. Snooker is a dying art. I’m a huge fan and century breaker but this game is going to the dinosaurs if the gambling sponsors leave. Who else is there? Mens clothing company? Water company? Slate manufacturer? RIP Snooker.

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