In the second of the “names to watch out for” interviews, young Scottish prospect and already exceptional snooker player Ross Muir. For someone of his age, Ross is a very down to earth and level headed individual who clearly has the attitude and temperament to achieve all he wants to achieve in the game of snooker. Readers may remember seeing him in the Junior Pot Black final a couple of years ago wearing his trademark glove. So without further ado…
Roland Cox: Tell us how you came to play snooker.
Ross Muir: Well I used to play golf and there was a pool table at the golf club so after a round of golf I would play pool. And over time I gradually got better at pool and when I was 10 years old my dad said “Why don’t you have a go at snooker?” so I did and fell in love with the game and haven’t looked back since.
RC: How old were you when you made your first century and if you have made one, a maximum?
RM: My first tournament century was a 113 which was 15 reds and 14 blacks and it came a week after my 12th birthday in a club in Broxburn. I made my first maximum in practice when I was 14 and my highest tournament break is 142.
RC: So who were the players on the television who inspired you to play? Who did you like watching?
RM: John Higgins, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan. Basically all of the top players who are now in their mid 30s.
RC: So you’re 15 now that means you were born in…
RC: So your earliest memory will probably be after Hendry’s last world title and when there was a “Big Four”?
RM: That’s right.
RC: When did you first enter a competition and how well did you do in it?
RM: I was 11 years old and it was the Scottish under 14 national championship and I reached the semi-finals at my first attempt and it gave me a lot of confidence.
RC: How many rounds did you play to get that far?
RM: Only about 2 or 3 because there weren’t many players of that age to play against, but there are players who were in that event doing very well now in other junior events like under 16s and under 19s, and who will be challenging to be pros fairly soon.
RC: How is the junior scene in Scotland at the moment?
RM: It’s really strong this year, it’s the strongest it’s been for years actually. Most of the players in it are challenging for European events so it’s looking good for the future.
RC: The readers may remember you from Junior Pot Black so what do you remember about that event? How did you come to play in it?
RM: I qualified for that by being the under 16 number one, and I went there not feeling very confident at all. I was hoping to win one match, maybe two. I couldn’t dream at all of playing in a tv match at the Crucible, and winning!
RC: Do you remember much about the final?
RM: I can remember walking out and that’s it. I’ve seen it played back on the internet but it’s scary because I can’t remember any of the shots whatsoever!
RC: What have been your best achievements so far?
RM: I think my best achievement was in the Star of the Future event winning the under 15s then the following year getting to the final of the 15-20s bracket. I think I’m the youngest player to reach the final of the 15-20s.
RC: So how did you come to wear a glove?
RM: When I was younger my hands used to sweat really badly and it was hard to play because the cue gets sticky so my mum came up with the idea of getting a glove to play with. It’s become my trademark now if you like, and I have no intentions of ever playing without it again!
RC: Do you get them custom made?
RM: Yes there’s a company that especially makes them for me – they asked me what I wanted and I basically described what I wanted and they made it.
RC: I bet you’ll start off a trend you know, especially if you make a name for yourself on television!
RM: There are quite a few players in Scotland now playing with gloves actually.
RC: There you go, the trend is already taking off! So you’re here playing in the Pink Ribbon, what do you make of the event?
RM: It’s a great tournament and it’s very nice to be involved in it and especially to watch the top pros and see them play in real life rather than on the television. It’s quite a good mix of professionals and amateurs so I’m enjoying it. The Academy is amazing and I hope the tournament raises lots of money for the charity.
RC: Is there anyone you would like to play?
RM: I’m hoping to face one of the leading Scottish professionals like John Higgins or Stephen Maguire.
RC: Good luck in that then and for the future and we hope to see you on our screens soon!
In the end Ross lost twice in the round of the last 64 to established opponents Gerard Greene and Jack Lisowski, no shame in that whatsoever and I’m sure it will be valuable experience for him as he progresses up the snooker ladder in years to come.
Ross will be taking part in the Scottish Tour next season and is hoping to gain an automatic place on the Main Tour. Failing that, all being well he will be at next year’s Q School. Follow his progress on the official Scottish Snooker website.