Marco Fu would be a leading contender to be the nicest man in snooker so his Australian Goldfields Open title triumph today was welcome, though obviously not popular in Bendigo where the local hero, Neil Robertson, finished runner-up.
Marco has throughout his career kept his head down, kept his mouth shut and just played the game he loves.
Having grown up in Happy Valley, Hong Kong a big part of his snooker education came when he moved to Canada, then a hotbed for the game.
His breakthrough came when he won the 1997 world amateur title. In his first season on the circuit, indeed in his first tournament, he reached a final at the 1998 Grand Prix.
In 2000 he became the first player to make a live 147 on the internet. He also won the 2003 Premier League and earned a reputation as a match for anyone but it was not until the 2007 Grand Prix that he won his maiden ranking title.
His success in Bendigo is his second, although he’s been close in the Big Three, finishing runner-up in the UK Championship and the Masters and losing in a decider in the 2006 World Championship semis.
Fu has suffered from inconsistency down the years. Some days he’s a world beater, others he looks flat. This can be said of many players but the disparity between Fu’s best and his worst is vast.
When he’s playing well his metronomic cue action is deadly. He’s a heavy scorer – 46 centuries last season – and has no fear of reputations.
At other times his game just isn’t there, hence his joining and then falling out of the top 16 on a number of occasions.
Marco, married to Shirley, is now a father to their daughter Alicia, which brings with it extra responsibilities. Indeed, balancing time and family life has become an increasingly important trick for snooker players.
Fu was a player who did not emerge from the fall of 110sport unscathed but has bounced back well and is now back in the top 16.
As I wrote before the event began, viewing figures in the Far East will play a large part in whether the tournament is staged again, so his run to the final and eventual success could be significant.
As for Robertson, it wasn’t a great day to be an Australian sportsman but he has increased his lead at the top of the rankings and will again be among the favourites for the next event, the European Tour event in Rotterdam which gets underway later in the week.