Shaun Murphy has described his shock World Snooker Championship first round exit as ‘the final nail in the coffin for 2020’ as he bemoans the impact of coronavirus on snooker and wider life.
The former world champion was hammered 10-4 by Thailand’s Noppon Saenghham at the Crucible over two sessions on Monday and Tuesday, falling at the first hurdle in his quest for a second world title.
Having won the China Championship and Welsh Open this season, it has been a good season for the 37-year-old, but his preparation for the World Championship has been hit by the global pandemic and by the death of close friend and WST director Brandon Parker.
Murphy was not looking to make any excuses after the loss to Noppon, but certainly feels the defeat in an empty Crucible is an experience to forget after a difficult time.
‘I think it’s well documented how disappointed everybody was that the crowds weren’t allowed in,’ Murphy told Eurosport.
‘On the first day there was just a hint of normality about the event that some people were allowed in. To have that taken away from us was, for me, the final nail in the coffin for 2020, I can’t wait for this year to be over.
‘I’m absolutely sick to death of COVID and the effects it’s had on all of ours lives, nothing seems to be straight forward anymore.
‘I didn’t dream as a nine-year-old boy to be playing to an empty Crucible, it’s not what dreams are made of.
‘I feel more sorry for the lads that have made their debut this week. They haven’t fulfilled their dreams, they haven’t got to experience walking out to a packed house here, and I hope they get to in the future.’
Taking the defeat with grace, Murphy praised the world number 42 for pouncing on an underwhelming performance from the favourite.
‘It was tough, it was very, very tough. I made quite a few mistakes across the whole match but he had me under pressure from the word go,’ said the Magician.
‘I let him off the hook in the second frame and from then on he had all the momentum. It felt like every little mistake I made, which there were quite a few in fairness, he punished every one severely.
‘That’s snooker, we’re all human, I take it on the chin and will go again.’
Noppon now plays either Mark Selby or Jordan Brown in round two.
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