Shaun Murphy goes on an extraordinary rant after a shock loss to amateur Si Jiahui
Shaun Murphy has slammed the UK Championship’s decision to allow amateur players to compete there – after being knocked out by one in the first round.
The 2005 winner of the event was pitted against Si Jiahui, who benefited from a player withdrawing to secure his place at the tournament at York Barbican.
The 19-year-old certainly took his chance, and despite seeing his 5-1 lead evaporate as Murphy took four straight frames, the Chinese teenager held his nerve to secure a memorable victory.
Shaun Murphy said after losing to Si Jiahui that the amateur ‘shouldn’t even be in the building’
Murphy trailed 5-1 before coming to back to level the match at 5-5 – only to lose the final frame
Murphy was less than impressed and angrily told BBC Radio 5 live: ‘I feel extremely hard done by that I have lost to someone who shouldn’t even be in the building.
‘I don’t know why we as a sport allow amateurs to compete in professional tournaments. This is our livelihood. This is our living.
‘We are self-employed individuals and not contracted sportsmen. We don’t play for a team.
‘The other runners and riders in the tournament, it is their livelihood too. It is wrong, in my opinion, to walk into somebody who is not playing with the same pressures and concerns I am.
‘He played like a man who does not have a care in the world, because he does not have a care in the world. It is not fair, it is not right. Amateurs should not be allowed in professional tournaments, the end.
‘This is our livelihood. This is how I put food on the table. This is how I earn money. Since turning professional at 15, I have earned the right to call myself a professional snooker player. He hasn’t done that. He shouldn’t be on the table.’
In response to Murphy’s comments, the World Snooker Tour said: ‘We respect Shaun’s opinions, but in this case we strongly disagree with his comments.
‘Many elite amateur players like Si Jiahui train and compete full-time in the hope of earning a guaranteed tour place, therefore they are competing under significant pressure with no guarantees.
‘Providing opportunities for the best amateur players is important for our growth as a sport and that is something that Shaun benefited from during his early days as a player.’
Si took his place in the draw following a withdrawal from the event and claimed a shock victory
The statement also said that Si ‘deserves his place in our events based on his results’ despite his amateur status.
Defending champion Neil Robertson, who faces amateur John Astley on Thursday, was one player to come out in support of Murphy’s point of view, saying: ‘I totally get where Shaun’s coming from.