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Luca Brecel has branded the latest generation of British snooker stars “lazy” and “impatient” as he prepares to begin his quest to take the world title home to continental Europe for the first time.
This year marks the first since the advent of 16 seeds in 1980 that no home nation player under the age of 30 has been seeded for the tournament, and the 27-year-old Belgian believes the shift in the sport’s traditional power-base is set to continue.
“For the new generation (of British players) it’s all about social media and money,” Brecel told the PA news agency. “These days they all seem so lazy and it will be difficult for more players like (John) Higgins and (Mark) Williams to break through.”
Brecel is one of six overseas players under the age of 30 – also including five from China – who inhabit the world’s top 40, while the current top-ranked British twentysomething is world number 42 Sam Craigie.
And Brecel, who beat Stephen Hendry’s record to become the youngest player in Crucible history at the age of 17 in 2012, says criticism of the tour’s adoption of the flat 128 draw system is no excuse.
“I’ve heard a lot of players complain about the 128 (draws) but I think you just need to get on with it,” Brecel added. “You must accept it’s going to take a long time to be good at something. Impatience is the word.”
Patience has certainly been a virtue for Brecel, who is making his fifth Crucible appearance and is yet to win a match. Nevertheless he arrives in Sheffield on the back of his best season yet, having reached the UK final in December and then won the Scottish Open later that month.
Brecel, who will start against Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham, added: “I’ve got my problems out of the way on and off the table and I’ve had a different season this year. I feel like this year I’ve got my best chance to go far.”