Saturday, 2 July 2011

EXCLUSIVE Interview with Ken Doherty - 1997 World Champion

Doherty winning 1997 World Championship
Ken Doherty has an amazing career. He is the only player who have won World Amatuer 
(1989), World Under 21(1989) and of couse the World Championship (1997). He was the 
third player from outside the United Kingdom to win become 1997 world champion by 
beating Stephen Hendry 18-12 in the final.

The Irishman plays with a warped cue in his entire career. It was randomly selected from 
the cue rack in his snooker local club. The cue helped him to win 17 professional titles and 
reach 3 world finals.

However the maximum break is one of the nightmares for Ken. It was very close to be 
completed at a moment. In the 2000 Masters Ken attempted a maximum break in the final 
against Matthew Stevens. The Irish missed the easy final black off its spot at 140 - If he'd 
potted the black, he would have won the £80,000 sports car and completed his first 
maximum break in the career. Eventually Doherty even lost the final 8-10, became the 
runner-up for the second year in a row. 

Ken opened his own Academy in Dublin recently, Ken Doherty
Snooker Academy to help produce Ireland's next snooker 
champion. The Academy provides training coaching for all 
snooker players.

I had a short section of interview with Ken recently. We talked 
about everything, including snooker, his life off the table and outlook for the new season :)

Kelly: Hi Ken, Congratulations on your newly opened snooker academy! Its great that
your academy will offer coaching for all snooker players. Have you found a particular
player that you found he has the potential to become a snooker champion?

Ken: I have not found a potential champion just yet but we are just starting and I 
am confident that I will! :)

Kelly: Do you think your project can help the development?

Ken: I think I can help, any club with a really good enviroment and good table 
conditions that also offers coaching can only encourage new talent to emerge.

Kelly: What is your child memory of playing snooker? When did you first fall into love 
with it?

Ken: I first started to play on the full size tables when i was 8 years old. I loved 
watching Pot Black and the World Championship every year. I mostly watched 
with my dad, he was Ray Reardon fan, Alex Higgins was mine. ;)

Kelly: I am really interested in your cue. I heard that it only cost you £2 and you 
randomly selected from the cue rank in your local snooker club. Tell me more about 
your cue!

Ken: I still play with my £2 cue i picked up in Jasons 30 years ago. Somebody had 
left it behind them and never returned, the £2 was for the manager as a pay off 
to keep quiet.

Kelly: Have you had any funny moments while working on the snooker, either on or 
off camera?

Ken: I first started to play on the full size tables when I was 8 years but needed a 
biscuit tin to stand on. Funny thing was when I started to beat guys much older 
than me, the biscuit tin went missing! 

Kelly: Please share with us what other stuffs you love to do off the table. I heard that 
you like playing poker, do you play it with other players?

Ken: I also love other sports and still play soccer 
every Monday. When I am home, I poker, golf 
and watching Manchester United.

Kelly: Just now we had a 2-month season break before 
the new season start. What did you do in these two months? 

Ken: I spent my time with the family, I miss my home life when I am away so I try 
and make it up when I am back.

Kelly: I know that you are are going to Thailand to play world cup for Ireland next 
month, partner with Fergal O'Brien. It must be great to play for your home country! 
Do you guys practice together to prepare for the doubles? Its been a while to play doubles, isnt it?

Ken: Looking forward to the World Cup in July, hardly ever play doubles now but 
would love to see a doubles tournament on TV again. I think Fergal and I will be a 
good partnership.

Kelly: Please share with us the title you are most proud of (Except the World Championship :D)

 Ken: Apart from winning the World Championship in 1997, my proudest other victory came in Malta 2006. I beaten John Higgins from 8-5 down in the final and 
    winning 9-8. (It was the first title he won in 5 years)

Kelly:Ken you did a brilliant job on PTC Grand Final in Ireland, I really enjoy your 
presentation. Any more chance to be a presenter in the future?

Ken: PTC final in Dublin was great and a new experience for me being the MC, I 
really enjoyed it. I hope it's on again there next year but with me playing this 

Kelly: I know you may found this question tough to answer. Do you prefer being a 
player or commentator, or both? Hows it feel in the commentary box?

Ken: Commentary is fun and I have a great time with 
all the other pundits, it doesn't feel like work at all.

Kelly: Okay here are some questions about the current 
snooker development. Barry Hearn did plenty reform in the game. How do you think 
about the new ranking systems and the new overseas tournaments? 

Ken: Barry Hearn has done a great job so far, more tournaments, a better ranking 
system that promotes current form and developing new horizons overseas 
including Australia and Brazil.

Kelly: Did you enter the coming PTC events? Are you excited with the new season? 

Ken: The PTCs have been a revelation so far as the keep all the players playing all 
year round. We really feel like full time professionals now.

Kelly: At last I have some short questions for you. Lets do them quickly. What kind of 
atmosphere you enjoy playing in?

Ken: Goffs was my favorite tournament for atmosphere however nothing beats the 
Crucible for tension and drama and excitement.

Kelly: What`s your favourite animal? Do you keep any pets at your home?

Ken: Siberian Tiger. We have two King Charles Spaniels,Toffee n Fudge.

Kelly: Your favourite actor/actresss?

Ken: De Niro, Pacino, Jack Nicholson. Angelina Jolie and Cate Blanchett

Kelly: Your favourite country in the world?

Ken: Australia

Kelly: Do you have any inspiration quotations?

Ken: Dream as if you will live forever, 
live as if you will die tomorrow. - James Dean

Kelly: The craziest thing you have done?

Ken: I am crafty Ken I don't do crazy!!!! LOL

    Ken is a really nice guy. I love his character very much. This interview is done before the Australian Open Qualifying started. And now Ken is qualified for the Australian Open which will be held in the next month. Ken will be going to his favourite place in the world! Best of luck to Ken for the new coming season! :)

    Ken has a last word for his fans: A big hello and thank you for all your support over the years! Hope you will keep following me for the next few years, see you at the next tournament. :)


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