1.8.08

WORLD CHAMPION OR WORLD NO.1?

I remember Stephen Hendry saying in the early 1990s that being world no.1 was more important to him than being world champion because “it shows you’re the best player for the whole year.”

Mark Selby takes the opposite view.

“Winning the World Championship is more important to me than getting to no.1,” he said.

“If I was to become world champion but never ever get to no.1 I don’t suppose anybody could ever take it away from me.

“You have someone like Ronnie O'Sullivan, if he was to be sitting at no.4 people would still say he’s the best player in the world so as far as ranking goes, it's just personal preference. Everyone has their own opinion.”

I think Hendry today may agree with Selby. The reason is that snooker players no longer play all year round because of the depleted calendar. Indeed, Hendry hasn’t played for three months.

There is kudos to being world no.1. Very few players have held this position and it is an indicator of form and consistency.

However, winning at the Crucible is generally considered to be a better achievement, not least because it’s what the public remember.

Also, the rankings are distorted in any case by the World Championship and its huge points tariff. Getting to the second round is equal to reaching the final of most tournaments.

The world champion, if not already the world no.1, is installed as world no.2, which makes a mockery of the rankings and, as Ian McCulloch found out three years ago, can be grossly unfair.

So I understand Selby’s point.

Increasingly, the snooker year has become geared towards the World Championship and little else.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I understand Selby’s point too. However, I think being World #1 should be more important than being World Champion. The thing is the rewards for winning the WC are massive compared to finishing the season ranked #1.
The point tariff is indeed distorted. The WC should award even more points considering the duration of every match where players have to play as much frames as the double, the triple and the quadruple number of frames of a normal ranking tournament.
Mig

Monique said...

The ranking system is indeed distorted because of the "weight" of the WC. How John Higgins could gain nr 1 spot in 2006-2007 despite a rather poor season illustrates this perfectly. On the other hand the WC format is so much more demanding as compared to other tournaments that this weight is indeed justifiable. The real problem is that there are not enough tournaments to balance it ...
This in turn has a pervert side effect. My feeling is that some players tend to focus only on majors and in particular on the WC, actually not trying their best in the "lesser" tournaments. It struck me this season how 3 of the 4 the men who had competed all season Selby, Murphy and Maguire actually had a disappointing WC. I can't help asking myself if they were not simply more tired - bit of burned out - as compared to others.
Some will say burned out with only 7 rankers? Well yes. Another pervert side effect of the small number of tournaments being that a counter-performance in just one tournament, in particular GP, UK or WC, tend to jeopardize the full season adding to the tension and mental strain for the players. So despite the rather small number of tournaments I don't think players are less tired than they were before; snooker is a highly mental game.

Rob said...

Higgins had a pretty good 05/06 to be fair Mon, I can't think of anyone who had a better two seasons. It does still take more than just winning the WC - neither Dott (despite being seeded in 05/06 and having a great 06/07) nor Murphy (who admittedly a long way to climb) got there. Hendry did recently despite a QF and then first round exit.

To me the list of world no.1s is slightly more distinguished than the list of champions, it was and probably still is a truer test. Even so, the WC is what it's all about and I don't think that's a recent phenomenon. Taylor's win was career defining, as was White's failure to win one, and that's not just the public's perception. If you were to ask Ebdon, Doherty, Taylor, Johnson etc whether they'd rather have been no.1 for a season instead of world champion I think I know what the answer would be.

Both distinctions came so easily to Hendry I'm not sure he saw them the way most players do. I find it had to believe his opinion was representative even back then.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be a concentration on building up the circuit again so tournaments come every other week, like the European tour golf or ATP tour tennis.

Anonymous said...

My feeling is that some players tend to focus only on majors and in particular on the WC, actually not trying their best in the "lesser" tournaments. It struck me this season how 3 of the 4 the men who had competed all season Selby, Murphy and Maguire actually had a disappointing WC. I can't help asking myself if they were not simply more tired - bit of burned out - as compared to others. what does anybody else think?

Kimball said...

Hendry was nr.1 a cpl of years ago
and thought it rediculous, considering he hadn´t one a single
tournament during the season.

I think it showed how the shift is on, with O´Sullivan superior, Selby- Maguire- Murphy being very staedy, as well as Ding and Fu +
Carter.
Mark Allen and Jamie Cope as climbers and Hendry/ Ebdon being
to tuff to let go, while Doherty,
Higgins, Robertsson, Williams,
Stevens and Dott lives dangerously
in jo-jo land.
Another topic!
It is high time to get into players
and WSA,s heads that the system is to slow.
China has two GP and want another,
they for sure shouldn´t be looked over the shoulder but are worth a
tournament with same status as UK.
Twice as fast rankingsystem with 64
main tourplayers and reranking at
new year for 49-64 through a playoff against top 8 from PIOS and
top 8 from an asian PIOS, maybe and
rankingfinals with only top 16 left
for play would hot it up and qickening the affair, making it cheaper to run and maybe a way to raise the pricemoney.
Top 8 could go through without qualification and maybe the whole tour should be reranked at new year.
Pontins-Prestatyn is pretty yeasterday for a worldsport, Germany-Polen would probably love
to run qualifications with good pricemoney if 9-16 would appear too.

Kimball

Monique said...

"My feeling is that some players tend to focus only on majors and in particular on the WC, actually not trying their best in the "lesser" tournaments. It struck me this season how 3 of the 4 the men who had competed all season Selby, Murphy and Maguire actually had a disappointing WC. I can't help asking myself if they were not simply more tired - bit of burned out - as compared to others. what does anybody else think?"
I think this is almost textually what I wrote on TSF and 606 before ... ;)