Marco Fu – Hong Kong’s greatest ever player – believes China represents snooker’s best hope to go truly global.
The reigning Royal London Watches Grand Prix champion commutes from Happy Valley to play on the circuit, which is still largely based in the UK even though it’s now 20 years since the first ranking event was staged outside British shores.
Of the seven ranking events now staged, five are in the UK and two in China.
Fu for one would rather the sport spread it’s tournaments around the globe more evenly.
In a wide ranging interview for the magazine Squat, he eyes the Chinese snooker boom spearheaded by Ding Junhui as the chance to break the British stranglehold on the circuit.
“China is a big market,” Fu said. “In China there are 50 million people playing snooker.“Ding Junhui is doing very well over in England. And we've got two tournaments in China. If it keeps up like that, the standard will get higher in China. Then we'll get more tournaments on this side of the planet
“Just like when Thai player James Wattana was in his prime, we had two or three tournaments in Thailand.
“This is good. It's always England, England, England – all the tournaments are in England. And we're getting a little tired of that. We want to travel all over the world like they do in golf and tennis. But there's still a long way to go in snooker.”
Marco is certainly right in this latter comment. Ten years ago, there were ten ranking events. Now there are just seven.
However, John Higgins’s new World Series promises to help spread the snooker word in continental Europe this summer and the plan is to expand this tour to other countries in future years.
You can read the rest of the interview with Marco here: