Views from the Crucible

The players lining up at the 2009 World Snooker Championships give their views ahead of the tournament.


Stuart Bingham (ENG): "I know it's going to be tough. If he's in the mood, Ronnie can be on a different planet to the rest of us. He has so much natural ability. Having said that, I'm not going there to be beaten. I've been striking the balls better recently and will obviously give it all I've got."

Ronnie O'Sullivan (ENG): "The top players always find that little gear when needed. That is what separates you from being number one to possibly number eight in the world. I always believe that when my form's on, it just takes the opponent and the occasion to make you find that next gear. The two best players in the world and the two that are able to respond and raise the gear when needed are me and John Higgins. All the others are good, solid players but they are not used to raising that gear, or they can't."

Mark Allen (NIR): "If I can beat Martin Gould that will be my place in the world's top 16 secured for next season - but I am going to the Crucible to win the tournament. I would love to play Ronnie on what is snooker's biggest stage."

Martin Gould (ENG): "I'm trying not to think about it too much. This will be the first time I've been there as a player. The practice has been going well – I've not done too much or too little. I just want to keep fresh and stay relaxed."

Peter Ebdon (ENG): "I've turned my season around. With two weeks of hard practice, and if I can keep the same character and spirit that I showed tonight (winning China Open), I'll prove difficult to beat at the Crucible."

Nigel Bond (ENG): "When the draw came out I thought 'that's not a bad draw' (against Peter Ebdon) but then he went and won the China Open."

Stephen Lee (ENG): "I couldn't bear thinking about not going to the Crucible this year, so it was a nice win (to beat Judd Trump in qualifying). One game at a time, but if I'm clearing up like that I can beat anyone."

John Higgins (SCO): "My preparations could not have gone any better. (On Ronnie O'Sullivan's comments, above) It's nice of Ronnie to say that. It's a compliment and he's not far off the mark. If I do play well I will be one of the favourites to win it and the same goes for him. But the fact is there will be a lot of other players who will be heading to Sheffield believing they can do it."

Jamie Cope (ENG): "I've always wanted to play at the Crucible, so when I qualified it was a special feeling. It is different to other tournaments, but at the end of the day you are playing on a table. But walking through the Crucible curtains into the arena is such a special feeling. It was great."

Graeme Dott (SCO): "You always look forward to playing at the Crucible; it's such a special atmosphere and I've obviously got fond memories of winning the title. Players who have played well all season don't seem to do very well at the Crucible - it's often a player who hasn't really done much all season who wins the title. "

Barry Hawkins (ENG): "I've been going too many years not believing in myself enough and not going to tournaments in the right frame of mind. I've got to think I can win tournaments - so why not start off with the World Championships?"

Mark Selby (ENG): "This is the time of year when you hope all the work you have put in pays off and that you can play your best snooker of the season. A lot has been made of my form this season and some people have said I have had a poor year. I think that's a harsh assessment and that it has not been nearly as disastrous as some people have made it out to be."

Ricky Walden (ENG): "Everything is in place and I just can't wait to get there now and play my first match. The Crucible where you've got to step up to the plate, like Shaun did a few years ago. I'm confident I can do that and show that I have what it takes to become a world champion."

Joe Swail (NIR): "I've always done well at the Crucible for some reason. I was in Holland last weekend for a Pro-am and had a 147 in losing in the semi-finals, it would certainly be lovely to hit a 147 at Sheffield and run away with £147,000!"

Mark Williams (WAL): "I was never worried about going to qualifying. I've done it before and I knew certain reasons why I was in the qualifiers and I knew I had to get on with it. There was no point moaning about it and if I can get straight back to the top 16 after coming out I think that would be a good feat. I still feel I can win."

Stephen Hendry (SCO): "The standard is so much better these days than it used to be. You only have to look at who has won tournaments this season. I'm very proud of what I've achieved, but the days of players dominating tournaments and winning back-to-back titles are probably not going to happen any more."

Ali Carter (ENG): "I don't think Ronnie will be in the final this year. It's hard, it's such a long tournament. Anything can go wrong and, when you're playing world-class players like John Higgins in your half, it's not a guarantee for him to get there."

Gerard Greene (NIR): "(My first round opponent) Ali Carter is going to be under pressure because he made the final last year and hopefully he'll be over-confident and will come unstuck. He might be thinking that he can win all day long but he might be in for a big shock."

Steve Davis (ENG): "I'm going to try to savour the moment. It's maybe not a last swansong, but it's easier to go there as an underdog. There used to be so much pressure on me. There's a new breed of player, but competing at the top is what keeps me going."

Neil Robertson (AUS): "You have to stamp your authority on both a match and a tournament from the off. Knowing the matches are longer has made me too relaxed at the start, thinking I could haul it back. I must turn up in the first session.”

Rory McLeod (ENG): (On being the first black player to line up at the Crucible) "It makes me proud to think I am opening a few doors. There have been a few other black players but they haven't stayed the course. I am so looking forward to it. To be ending my season by playing at the Crucible for the first time is exciting enough. And to be making history at the same time is extra special."

Jamie Burnett (SCO): "Thirteen years (since my last appearance) is a long time. The Crucible is where everybody wants to play. I was expecting to get back a bit sooner but it's taken me a while. It's good to be back."

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