Dominic Dale is moving back to the UK after four years in Vienna in order to cope with his busy snooker schedule.
The former Grand Prix and Roewe Shanghai Masters champion will leave the Austrian capital this weekend and live close to his practice base, the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.
Welshman Dale, age 39, had a fine season in 2009/10, winning a PTC event and climbing to No 31 in the world rankings, and hopes to continue that momentum in 2010/11.
"When I had a good look at the tournament calendar last month, I worked out that travelling to and fro from Vienna for the whole season was going to cost me around £15,000," said Dale. "Last season I was paying for flights and then staying in hotels in Gloucester where I practise and hotels in Sheffield for the PTC events and qualifiers.
"To be based anywhere other than the UK is prohibitively expensive because there are so many tournaments now. As the Americans say, it was a 'no-brainer' for me to move back to the UK.
"I will be sad to leave Vienna because I have a lot of friends there. I want to say thanks to the Koo 15 Reds snooker club for the support and friendship I had there. I love the culture in Vienna, the beautiful buildings, the opera house and the cosmopolitan nature of the city. I will miss it but I can still go back on holiday. I'm not a sentimental person so I'm not worried about the move.
"I had a good mindset last season and practising on my own in Vienna wasn't a problem, especially as I would come to the UK a few days before each event and play against other professionals. But I did get a bit jaded here and there from the travelling.
"I have to take an objective view of things because I am a professional sportsman and I want to do well. As a self-employed sportsman you have to consider yourself a business, and from a financial perspective it doesn't make sense any more to live outside the UK.
"The Academy in Gloucester is a great place to practise. The tables there are Championship standard and it's not often in my career that I've had the chance to play on tables like that every day. I still feel that I have another decade as a snooker player and this will help me get the best out of myself. It's up to me to make the best of this opportunity."
Dale is looking forward to the new season with enthusiasm and is particularly keen to qualify for the Australian Goldfields Open in July, which will be the first ranking event ever staged in Australia.
"It's important for snooker to be in Australia, particularly with Neil Robertson as their lynchpin at the moment," said Dale. "We have to look at the future of the game and realise that if it grows there then there could be more events with more prize money.
"If I qualify I won't mind flying economy, I've done it a few times before. You can get a flight for around £1,200 so the players who qualify will still make money, have a great time and get some ranking points. Some of the players sometimes expect too much or get a bit greedy and don't realise the importance of going to play in events like this."
As for his overall targets for the season, Dale added: "I just want to continue to improve. I believe that I'm good enough to beat anyone. I'm fit and dedicated and I feel like a 25-year-old. In terms of the rankings, obviously I want to stay in the top 32 and maybe have a go at the top 16, although the top 20 is more realistic."
What a great guy. Such a great mindset and extremely positive thinking, which I love to hear. Its clear how much his snooker means to him. If he gets in the top 16 or wins a ranker...urmm... i dont know,..i will...gosh Ill have to think about it.
Is it me or is next season like going to be the most exciting ever? Theres so much to look forward too. So many players I want to see how they will do..such as cope, swail, ronnie, white, dale, williams, maguire because I have a feeling hes falling off the radar. So many new tournaments to see. I now understand the PTCs fully so can follow with joy. Ahhh
I cant wait!
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