Following Martin Gould’s excellent performance at the World Championships where he knocked out Marco Fu in round 1 before being involved in a classic match against eventual winner Neil Robertson which he lost 13-12, I bumped into him at the Crucible where he agreed to an interview. The interview was conducted via the Facebook website and Martin showed great patience by answering each question on his mobile phone! I found him to be very friendly and nice natured, and an all round top bloke. Here is the interview.
Witz78: I was very impressed when I saw your match last year against Mark Allen, especially in the mini comeback. After this I started to follow your progress but was surprised to see you have a poor season up until qualifying for the Worlds, then beating Fu playing some great stuff and then producing a cracking performance in the first two sessions against Robbo before the wheels sadly came off. Why do you feel that you save your best form for the longer format matches of the World Championships?
Martin Gould (MG): Hi ya mate, thanks for following me. I’ve always been a slow starter in matches hence why i do well in long matches. It’s something I’ll be working on in the summer so I can compete in the short sprint tournaments.
Case_Master: What did you make of Neil Robertson’s long toilet breaks towards the end of your match?
MG: Hello mate, I never actually realised he was gone that long but quite a few people said he was taking the piss – no pun intended!
GJtheaussiestud: What is the best win of your career to date?
MG: I would say I got a couple of big wins beating Hendry in the Welsh Open last season as well as beating Matthew Stevens in the final qualifying round to get to the Crucible. But beating Fu at the Crucible is in the top 3 as well.
thetubberlad: First of all, congratulations on some very impressive performances, of the qualifiers you were certainly one of the standouts. I fancied your chances of beating Marco Fu, and you did me a great favour in the predictions contest. Unfortunately, I missed your evening session with Neil, but by all accounts it was one of the best performances of the season.
What kind of thoughts go through your head as a player comes flying back at you like Robertson did?
MG: Hello mate. It was a different experience for me as I’d never been in that position being so far in front. I always felt positive but it was one of those days where nothing happened for me. I still felt as if I could win at 12-12 but it wasn’t to be mate.
Bourne: I confess to only seeing you twice before this tournament and you put up a good show in both, but that second session against Robertson had to be some of the best snooker I’ve seen all season. Have you found it easy to take the positives from the defeat to Robertson?
MG: I’ve got a lot of positives to take from my matches. It proved I can hang with the top 8 guys as well as beat them. It’s also given me valuable experience for when I get in that position again. Next season is gonna be good mate!
SnookerFan: Did you choose your own entrance music to The Crucible and if so, what made you choose it?
MG: Hi mate. I picked my own entrance music as I am a big WWE fan I knew a couple of songs I could pick hence why I picked The Game by Motorhead – I thought it was the perfect track!
StalinESQ: Martin – well played and hard luck. The session that you played to go 11-5 up was simply breath-taking, we were all gobsmacked. What are your thoughts on different formats being introduced?
MG: Hi mate. I’m looking forward to new formats, I think it’s a good idea. The shot clock would suit me as I am a quick player and you need to be attacking which suits me perfectly.
Cheesyman99: Do you have any tips or advice to give to a young player like me who dreams of making it pro one day?
MG: The best advice i can give you is practice practice practice mate! Play players who are much better than you as you will learn so much more from them rather than playing people that you know you’re gonna beat. Hope that helps
TheCleaver: How high would you like to get in the rankings in your career and what is a realistic target for you? And what would be the ideal balance of tournaments for a snooker professional, would you like to play all the time or still have adequate breaks between events particularly if you’re an outside top 16 player and have to qualify for events?
MG: Hi mate. My target is break in to the top 32 next season – I aim to be realistic rather than over the top. I prefer to play tournaments on a regular basis but a break in between does help from time to time.
gallantrabbit: Hello Martin. Congrats for the two sparkling performances. Do you feel that finding out that Steve Davis had beaten John Higgins and possibly given you a slightly more accessible route to the semis affected you mentally in the last session with Robertson? Build on these performances Martin. Be lucky!!
MG: Hi ya. I think finding out Davis won didn’t help me at all! I told all my friends not to tell me his result but just before my final session started someone backstage told me so it did get me thinking too far ahead.
rocket_ron: First of all i wish to congratulate you on qualifying to the crucible and then reaching the second round and pushing Neil Robertson all the way to a thrilling 13-12 decider. Do you have your own snooker table at home or do you practice at a local club? Also when you practice, do you practise alone or with a fellow pro?
MG: Thanks for the message! I play in my local club. I dont have my own table as yet but I am working on it. I tend to travel and play other players as there aren’t a lot of top players where I live I’m afraid, but I do a fair bit of practice on my own as well so its all good really mate.
Snooker Island (SI): Another question asked was how many hours do you practice per day?
MG: I’m not really a practice person. I play better with less practice but if I am playing someone I can practice up to 10 hours.
wildJONESEYE: What is life as a snooker player like and is it what you expected it to be?
MG: Hi ya mate. Life as snooker player is good. I’m not sure exactly what the good points are as yet as I’ve not hit the big time yet, but it’s nice being spotted in streets and I do tend to get some freebies which you can never turn down!
N_Castle07: Who is your favourite snooker player of all time?
MG: My favourite player growing up was Stephen Hendry because of the way he played and dominated the game. The guy was and still is a legend.
SI: On the same theme, who were your influences growing up?
MG: I guess watching Hendry in his prime influenced me into wanting become a professional player. Plus watching Jimmy White also helped me.
SI: Do any matches witnessed in your childhood stand out as particular favourites or inspiration?
MG: My favourite matches would be the Jimmy White v Stephen Hendry world finals. They were classics!
SI: How much of a snooker geek are you?
MG: I know a fair bit about snooker but i wouldn’t say I am a geek.
SI: A lot of people have asked this question: What is your opinion on Barry Hearn as WPBSA Chairman?
MG: I like Hearn’s ideas but we’ve got to see them for real before i have an opinion on him.
SI: Are you in favour of a new rolling ranking system from next season?
MG: I’ve not really seen his plans for the rankings so i can’t really comment on that.
SI: How do you find the Star tables?
MG: I like the Star tables, they are a bit tougher than the old tables we played on.
SI: Do you play money matches at your local club?
MG: I’m not one for playing money matches to be honest, but I would if the chance came up.
SI: Have you made any or many 147s in practice? (Since posing this question I found out Martin played a session containing 3 maximums and 10 further centuries!)
MG: I am on 54 147s. I haven’t played since last week when I made 3 in one evening!
SI: Who are your biggest pals on the snooker circuit?
MG: I dont really have many pals on tour, I like to keep myself to myself although I do play poker with the refs a fair bit!
SI: Do you have any groupies?
MG: Most of my groupies are on Facebook but i do have a few friends that travel with me.
SI: Do you have a favourite type of shot you like to play?
MG: I dont really have favourite type of shot, I just love potting balls!
SI: You have a very good poker face. Is this something you’ve picked up from working in casinos?
MG: My poker face is something I’ve always had, it’s not something I’ve learned from working in a casino.
SI: How much do you study your opponent’s body language and how much their shot selection?
MG: I don’t study players, I just play the balls on the table. It’s the best way to be.
SI: At what stage in your life did you know you had the game to make it as a professional?
MG: I always knew I had the game to hit the big time, it’s just a matter of going out in to an arena and producing the goods really.
SI: Finally, can you describe the feeling of playing at the Crucible and what changes when the divide goes up after the session on the other table has ended?
MG: Playing at the crucible is everyone’s dream. When the divide is up it’s a daunting place if things are going wrong. But when it’s up it feels like playing in proper arena again and i love it either way really.
SI: Martin, thank you very much for your time and best of luck in the future. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of you on our television screens in the coming tournaments and rest assured you will have a lot of Snooker Islanders cheering you on!
MG: That’s cool mate, your welcome.