Turkish Masters and Tour News – 8.3.2020

The Turkish Masters starts tomorrow in Antalya. Hector Nunns is on site and has shared some images on social media: venue, arena and the old port scenery.

From what I understood from his posts on twitter, table 1, 3, 4 and 5 are in one place and table 2 in a different area… bizarre. Maybe I misunderstood.

Mark Allen is already over there and, going by his Instagram, is particularly impressed with the food.

The two highest ranked players in the draw, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson have withdrawn. Mark Selby has decided to take a break from snooker and will not play in any event before the World Championship.

Here is Hector’s piece about this:

Mark Selby To Take A Break Before Defending Betfred World Championship Crown

World No1 Mark Selby will be taking a complete break from snooker before defending his Betfred World Championship crown in Sheffield in April.

Both Selby and Neil Robertson have both pulled out of March’s inaugural Turkish Masters. And reigning world champion Selby, 38, has also withdrawn from the Gibraltar Open – meaning he will not play again before defending his world title at the Crucible next month.

Seeing two of the world’s top four pull out of the first ranking snooker tournament staged in Turkey is a disappointing blow for the pioneering event in the resort city of Antalya, especially as world No2 Ronnie O’Sullivan also decided not to enter in the first place.

Leicester’s four-time world champion Selby revealed in January that his mental health had deteriorated, and that he was suffering with depression.

At first he tried to play on while at the same time receiving professional support – but has now decided a total break is needed before heading for the game’s blue-riband event.

Selby said: “I am very sorry not to be going to the first Turkish Masters as I had been looking forward to the tournament and I’m sure it will be a great event. Unfortunately, it has just come at the wrong time for me with some challenges I am facing.”

Selby’s decision also rules him out of contention from sneaking into the field for the prestigious Tour Championship for the season’s best-performing eight players. He was well back in the one-season rankings and would have needed to win one of the remaining qualification events.


World No 4 Robertson, 40, and the player of the season with three big titles already, will not be playing due to reservations about the long trip with uncertainties created by the war in Ukraine.

He said: “I want to apologise to the fans in Turkey and would have loved to play there. I look forward very much to being there next year.”

Mark Selby’s decision is not really surprising of course, as he is battling depression. As for Neil Robertson’s reasons … maybe someone should offer him a map of Europe?  Antalya is nowhere near the war zone, and the route to it doesn’t get near it at any point either. Never mind…

The poster now looks really weird.


In other news, tickets have gone on sale for the 2022 World Championship qualifiers.

The good news is that there will be a crowd.

The bad news is that there will be only 4 tables and it’s the best of 11 format in the “early” rounds. So what was supposed to be a measure dictated by the covid situation has now been made permanent. The trend to shorten the formats continue. This devaluates the World Championship, and snooker as a sport in general.