Yesterday, one Chinese friend posted on twitter about Zhou Yuelong, Xiao Guodong, and Zhang Jiankang not having applied for their visa, hence effectively withdrawing from the WC qualifiers.
Today, the same person added that more than 10 Chinese players had withdrawn, adding the following names to the list:
Chang Bingyu, Li Hang, Mei Xiwen, Zhang Anda, Chen Zifan, Xu Si, Bai Langning, Zhao Xintong and Lei Peifan.
And, of course, Marco Fu also withdrew a couple of weeks ago.
Luo Honghao who is currently in his second year and ranked 62, will surely do everything in his power to be there. He’s not guaranteed to succeed though. Zhang Anda, ranked 72, had a decent chance to stay on tour, but, if the above is confirmed will now be relegated.
Ding doesn’t need to qualify. So that’s 13 out of 22 who opted out, and I’m certain that, for most of them, it was not a light-hearted decision .
This is alas, exactly what I feared. The “World” Snooker Tour becoming actually a UK Snooker Tour more than ever next season. And if China loses interest in snooker, the sport will suffer financially. Big time.