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Steve Davis interview

Postby Sharky

This might be of interest to yous, it's when we interviewed Steve Davis a few months ago.

MH asks. . . . .

Hi Steve. You switch from snooker to 9 ball and 8 ball and are successful in all formats. The tables and balls are different sizes, you also use different cues. How the bloody hell do you do it? If I play one frame of snooker my pool game goes to pieces!

Steve says. . . . . I’m not sure that I was totally successful at 9-ball and I’ve had very little exposure and no competitive play at pub 8-ball but obviously I can still perform to a relatively high level, even though as you say, different balls, tables and cues. In essence they are they same though. The way you hit the ball should be no different for whatever game you play. Perhaps I have the “feel” for hitting balls, and how they are going to subsequently react, more than most. Having said that I wouldn’t want to be playing an important Snooker match coming straight off the back of some intensive 9-ball.

180s asks. . . . .

Hi Steve as a massive fan of yours and avid snooker fan for over 25 years,What were your real thoughts after dennis sunk that final black in 85?

Steve says. . . . . Well, it’s coming up for 25 years now so my memory is understandably blurred, and obviously my psychoanalyst does like me talking about it! But … in the heat of the moment .. and after I had missed my chance … and with the last frame being such a rollercoaster of emotion and adrenalin … when I missed the black I knew that I had lost … but losing stinks, doesn’t matter how it happens, so you just accept it. It’s very clear cut .. you either pot the balls or the other guy does. However … after getting absolutlely smashed that evening, the following month I had a few days of reflection , with all the what ifs flooding back, replaying shots in my head etc. My worst moment in snooker … as well as my best in a strange way, as so many people remember where they were when they watched it … and to be part of sporting history.

Master P asks. . . . .Hi Steve You now commentate on matches, what has been your favourite match commentating or playing?

Steve says. . . . . Well my favourite match recently was between Stephen Hendry and Mark Williams at the Grand Prix. Neither could pot a ball! And the look on their faces was priceless. In some ways it wasn’t nice to see two great players struggling so badly but it was fascinating to see how they coped with it.

Redman asks. . . . .

Hi Steve - Snooker seems to be in a decline with falling tv ratings and less exposure and sponsors not so easy to find for tournaments are things as bad as they seem from the outside?

Steve says. . . . . Things are not great. Anyone outside the top 16 has only 6 ranking event to play in. The players are frustrated enough that they are on the brink of starting up a union (which is bizarre as we are supposed to be an association anyway) . The main thrust of this union is to end up with the association running the game but NOT to be the sole promoter of events. Having the Association where two hats has, in mine and many others opinion led to an implosion of tournaments over the years. Watch this space. Perhaps we are right or perhaps it will make no difference.

Smithys regular asks. . . . .

Theres been an undeniable evolution in the way the tables play insofar as speed of cloth and generosity of the bags. This years world championship crossed the line in my opinion, allowing suspect shots drop that should have knuckled and stayed out leading to an exciting counter attack or safety battle. As a man with over 300 centuries to his name are you concerned that many modern players are poised to surpass that achievement but largely due to the table conditions and not their break building prowess?

Steve says. . . . .I agree that this years world champs looked too easy. This year’s Grand Prix seemed to address that. We are playing on Star tables this year. I played on them in the Premier League last year and I thought they were easier than Riley tables but I think the powers that be are aware of things. Martin Clark (as an ex player himself) is a good liason man for the players. Getting the balance right is tough especially as the payers are always improving. One thing I’m pretty sure of though is that the pockets are more difficult than the mid eighties. Looking at footage from around this time you will see much more “undercut” on the rubber around the pocket area.

Darts ace asks. . . . .

Hello Steve, Ronnie O'Sullivan claimed that John Higgins has under-achieved in his Snooker career, however do you agree with what Ronnie claimed?

Steve says. . . . . I think Ron was only saying that for someone of John’s brilliance that it was amazing that he’d not won more and possibly been the dominant force within the game. This is more a reflection on how many great players also play the game these days anad how difficult it is to consistently win best of 9’s these days than a criticism on John

Wilby asks. . . . .

Hello Steve and congratulations on a long and very successful career. A good friend of mine who sadly is no longer alive used to tell me that you used to play snooker in the working mens club just around the corner from where he lived that being Flaxton Rd in Plumstead. I always thought he was pulling my leg but I know you did live in Plumstead so maybe he was telling the truth.

Steve says. . . . I started at 14 ½ atLee Green Working men’s club and then moved to playing at the Plumstead Common Working men’s club (Kirkham street) My father played club league snooker for both teams so I was allowed to play even though I was under age at the time

MH asks. . . . .

Hi Steve, your game was based on sheer hard work and practice. Others, Higgins, White, O'Sullivan etc appear to have a natural flair and when playing well make it look effortless. Who in your opinion had the most natural talent?

Steve says. . . . ..Hi MH your observation is wrong but understandable, as obviously some players “look” more natural than others. How you adapt your talent is down to the individual. Stephen Hendry and myself could have decided to have “looked more natural” but it would have been at the expense of consistency.

However you are right in your observation that the three player mentioned above are probably 3 of the most naturally gifted players ever to play top class match snooker (I have seen many very gifted players who were not “winners”

Anyway the most naturally gifted in my opinion 1. Ronnie, 2 Alex, 3 Jimmy.

Rout asks. . . .

Hi Steve. . . . .Ronnie O'sullivan is, in my opinion, the most fascinating individual in sport today. His personality seems to divide fans opinion. Whilst some see him as arrogant, I personally think he is mis-understood. As he stated you as his all time hero, whats your opinion of him, away from the baize? Is he an isolated character amongst the rest of the players

Steve says. . . . .

Yes he is relatively isolated, and keeps himself to himself. But the other players don’t “isolate “him and don’t really have a problem either way.

I don’t really know Ronnie that well but I like him.

Some of the problems come from “having” to do press conferences so close after the matches. Perhaps some players in these moments are more “considered” than others.

I don’t judge Ronnie on his press conferences. We’ve all had our moments there!

bluerat asks. . . . .

How important was "Spitting Images" depiction, of you in gaining a public profile away from the Snooker Table.

Steve says. . . . . Well I’m not sure that it was like that … but what it did do was take the heat off the fact that I had a boring reputation. For whatever reason .. in the same way as Nick Faldo had. You can’t really change how people perceive you (from a distance especially) So Spitting Image came along. Took the snake hiss brilliantly, gave me a nickname and a personality all rolled into one. As a result I embraced my character and used it to the best of my advantage by playing up to the boring label. Brought out the very funny “how to be really interesting” book (love to say it was my idea but it wasn’t) and ever since I’ve had my alterego that has been a friend rather than an enemy!

Sharky asks. . . . .

Who was the player you least wanted to be drawn against and why?

Steve says. . . .Stephen Hendry. He used to bash the daylights out of me!

Fishnchips asks. . . . .

Hi Steve, You had a tempestuous relationship with Alex Higgins to say the least. Is that all water under the bridge now and do you two speak?

Steve says. . . . . Havent spoken to Alex for years but then .. I haven’t seen him for years! I didn’t really have a tempestuous relationship with Alex. The fans and the Media helped to keep anything at boiling point. Alex probably didn’t help by saying that he’s rather have a beer with Idi Amin than me! (snake hissed myself!)

Biggest problem with Alex for me was that he used to frighten me. On the table was OK but off I just wanted to escape from him. He reminded me of Tas the whirling Tasmainian Dervish/Devil? Who left a trail of destruction in his wake.
I don’t think I’d play an exhibiton with Alex now. Not because I don’t like him but I couldn’t be bothered with the agro that usually occurs

JJ asks. . . . .

Hi Steve - "Pot Black" in my opinion really helped the game of snooker especially with the onset of colour TV, can you in 3 words sum up "big break"?
Thank you

Steve says. . . . .

Not sure I can! It was certainly keeping the Players and the game in the public eye. It wasn’t about Competiotion so much as the fun side of snooker , which was good!

OK … I can do it in 7 words. “Pot as many reds as you can!”

Randall asks. . . . .

Hi steve, do you think snooker will get back to the heights of his popularity in the 80's? what needs to be done for that to happen? i used to watch avidly, have to say ive drifted away in recent years.

Steve says. . . .

No, the world has changed enough that this can’t happen again. Or rather the world of entertainment and what we here in the UK want from it has changed. However there are signs or Germany and China embracing the game in so may similar to the UK 80’s.

The biggest chance could perhaps be via the internet gambling route (good/bad is another question!) world wide internet snooker channel where gambling on every ball could be massive. The game, like many sports lend themselves to “in running” betting as long as there is minimal delay in receiving the broadcast

Tom says

Hi Steve - Some argue that snooker can get a bit boring to watch (to be honest, the same could be said about darts at times). Do you think there could be a way to make things more exciting, such as the new 6 reds idea? Or should it be well left alone?

Steve says. . . . . I personally think it should be left alone. However if you were inventing the game of Snooker tomorrow. Then I’d probably go with 10 reds … I think. No free ball rule … No Miss rule.. no snookering behind the nominated colour …. In the event that your opponent makes a foul you can either take the “foul points” and play the shot from where the cue ball rests or have “ball in hand” ala 9-ball pool but you don’t get any points for the foul.

180s asks. . . . .

Would you have liked to have played Stephen Hendry in a World championship Final when you were at your peak? ( I think you would have beaten him).

Steve says. . . . . .

I think I was at near my peak when Stephen came along in 1989 so I’m not so sure. It would have been tough had he been born in 1957 I’m not sure what would have happened. Obviously every era improves … so perhaps he wouldn’t have been so good?

Darts ace asks. . . . .

From your past seasons you have been in , what did you make of the Snooker Premier League and did you enjoy playing in the tournament?

Steve says. . . . . I enjoy the League but the time clock is no good! My main reason for saying that is that Snooker works best when there is tension. You have no tension when the players have no time in which to think.

M H asks. . . . .

I remember a final you were playing your mate Tony Meo. Meo had a chance in the final frame to win but an idiot in the crowd shouted and put him off. Meo missed and you cleared up. You mentioned the incident in the interview afterwards. Did you think about missing to even the balance for your mate?

Steve says. . . . . No as it wasn’t necessarily the reason that he missed the shot. If I remember it was someone shouting out “come on Tony” But it wasn’t actually as he was striking. So he had time to compose himself?

That’s an occupational hazard and only that.

Sharky asks. . . . .

As snooker seems to be declining and Barry Hearn is increasing the money available in darts. Which would you advise a youngster to persue?

Steve says. . . . . Well if life were just about money .. I’d say a bundle of other things before darts or snooker.
You don’t choose Snooker …. It chooses you!

It’s been a pleasure.
Any technical questions I will ask at my myspace page
I don’t answer basic stuff just the purely technical theory

We've also interviewed other sports stars and a lot of darts players. All here:

Re: Steve Davis interview

Postby Casey

"Darts ace asks. . . . .

From your past seasons you have been in , what did you make of the Snooker Premier League and did you enjoy playing in the tournament?

Steve says. . . . . I enjoy the League but the time clock is no good! My main reason for saying that is that Snooker works best when there is tension. You have no tension when the players have no time in which to think."

:wave: :wave: