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New season excites Murphy

Postby Wildey,19528, ... 50,00.html

Former world champion Shaun Murphy says he is as excited as ever about the new season after Barry Hearn's recent takeover of the sport.

Murphy beat Ding Junhui 9-8 in the final of the Rundili Wuxi Classic in China last Sunday and is looking forward to a big year.

Sale-based Murphy is full of enthusiasm for the new events on the World Snooker calendar, particularly the Players Tour Championship (PTC), which will see 12 three-day events building up to the televised finale.

27-year-old Murphy, the 2005 Crucible champion, is delighted with the new regime in snooker and is eagerly anticipating the new season.

"I've not been as excited about a new season since I was a junior," said Murphy.

"There will be tournaments virtually every week, and that is what we want - to be able to test ourselves against the other best players as often as possible.

"That's what we play sport for."

Murphy believes a major find for the season will be an increased popularity in Germany - saying it could be the sport's new China.

World Snooker will stage a new ranking event in Berlin in February, while at least four events in the new PTC series will be held in Germany, in cities such as Frankfurt and Hamm.

"We've seen snooker become massive in China, and in Germany it could be just as big," added Murphy.

"I've played in various events and exhibitions there and we are playing to packed houses every day.

"We've seen great players like Ding come out of China, and Germany could be the next breeding ground for potential World Champions."

The first PTC event runs from June 25-27 at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield. Six of the 12 short events will be at the Academy, with the other six in Europe.