The Scottish Open 2018 started yesterday at the Emirates Arena, in Glasgow, and, to be honest, what happened off the table was just as interesting as what happened on it.
Here is the Eurosport Preview, with Neil Robertson who is looking to defend his title:
With a review of the previous Home Nations event, the Northern Ireland Open and the UK Championship, that just finished on Sunday night.
And also, Neil’s Robertson interview ahead of his title defense
Of course, Ronnie pulled out and this was Neil Robertson opinion on that:
He is right, playing at the level Ronnie did in York, for nearly two weeks, is extremely demanding mentally and emotionally and, coming to a setup like this one, in front of a comparatively poor crowd, is difficult. Fans are of course disappointed that he isn’t there, but then they would probably also be disappointed if he was there and didn’t perform. All the more credit though to Mark Allen who is playing in Glasgow. I hope that he has a good tournament and doesn’t run out of energy.
It wasn’t a great day for the Scots. Stephen Maguire and Anthony McGill lost in the first round, losing to Billy Joe Castle and Zhang Yong respectively. Maguire’s “performance” was terrible. Ross Muir, John Higgins, and Graeme Dott progressed, but John Higgins played very badly, except in the decider. It transpired that he was suffering from broken ribs, after a “football accident”.
“It’s a floating broken rib, it’s happened before,” he told Eurosport.
“It’s a football injury. It was the League Cup final up here last weekend (Celtic beat Aberdeen on 2 December) and I’d had a few drinks…”
Asked if he would pulled out if it had been any other tournament, the Scot replied: “Yes, without a doubt.
“My family and friends were coming to see me. It’s the only chance they get. They’ve not seen me in a final lately.”
John’s notion of a football accident had me smiling. Isn’t that rather a “drinking accident”? Anyway, I can’t see him going much further playing that way!
But it’s not just a rib John Higgins broke, he also broke a record yesterday, as this was his 1000th professional match win (source cuetracker.net )
John was also asked about Ronnie’s “breakaway” ideas. Here is his answer, during his post-match interview:
So, we now have John Higgins, Mark Allen, Mark Williams, Joe Perry, and Stephen Maguire wanting changes, and John definitely interested in an alternative platform.
Eden Sharav also progressed, as his opponent, Hossein Vafaei, didn’t show up. Eden is a local boy, but now plays for Israel, his father’s country. That’s twice that they are set to play each other, and twice that Hossein withdraws. There were suggestions that this was related to religious beliefs – and it might be – but I rather think it’s related to the consequences he could face, being an Iranian athlete if he accepts to play an Israeli. To get you an idea of what I mean, I suggest that you follow those links and read what happened in other sports.
It’s hard to know what could be the consequences for Hossein, or his family if he was to play Eden, so I would refrain from judging. What I do know though is that this places the WPBSA in a very difficult position. They obviously can’t condone such attitude, but on the other hand, it might not be the player’s choice at all, and by forfeiting their match, they lose money and ranking points.
Other than that, there weren’t many “shocks”. You can follow the tournament on snooker.org