Bengaluru: One is at a loss of words when it comes to Indian green baize’s Golden Boy. Pankaj Advani’s insatiable appetite for titles saw him add one more, clinching the Asian 6-Red snooker title last week in Abu Dhabi en route to etching his name in history.
Just when everyone is left wondering what is next for the Bengaluru ace, Advani notched up yet another feat to keep his record stack piling up. With the win, the 30-year-old cueist becomes the first in the world to hold the continental and the world title in 6-reds snooker at the same time.
Not having laid his hands on a trophy for the past couple of months, the win has spurred him on.
In this interview, Advani holds forth on his upcoming tournaments and his plans to defend the World 6-Red title.
On the win: I was over the moon. It is a special feeling to hold both the titles together (World and continental) at the same time, so obviously the win is very special. Winning the Asian title finally was a huge relief. I had missed out on the Asian title (15-Red Asian Snooker title) last month, so the pressure and determination to win was always present. I was motivated to win it. Moreover, the 6-Red format is highly unpredictable and you can lose to anyone.
On the final: The semifinal was easy as I was very sharp against Aditya, and you don’t get too many chances against a player of his calibre. The final on the other hand was quite tense. I was fighting it out and the pressure was there. Sometimes you can’t play the beautiful game. I was in the lead and I was fighting it out and going for the shots.
Towards the end, the pressure of the win was very much there. On losing in the team final: We were the favourites going into the final but they adopted a different strategy in the final. The shots they went for we don’t play like that and we wouldn’t go for it that way. Luckily they got most of their shots and the match went their way.
On expectations and pressure: The last couple of years, especially 2014-2015 have been great for me. This year I hadn’t won any titles for a few months and that was playing on my mind. The last few months have been tough. It’s not possible to win everything always.
On winning titles in both formats: I consider myself lucky and I am truly grateful that I have the talent to play both billiards and snooker. Playing both formats and winning titles has been an accomplishment, and I’m happy I have been able to achieve that feat.
On defending his World 6-Red title: There are a lot of tournaments coming up, starting with the selections for World Billiards in Hyderabad. Moreover, I am gunning for a straight third World 6-Red title. That itself is a lot of pressure so it’s playing at the back of my mind.
On the hectic schedule and travelling: With so many tournaments happening, I am always on the road and the schedule is definitely hectic. I enjoy living out of a suitcase. Going to a new place and adjusting to the conditions, the weather, the food is challenging, and I love the challenge.
On Cue Slam, the franchise-based tournament in June and August: It’s good that a lot of tournaments are happening. Especially with the Cue Slam coming up it’s going to be a boost to the sport. Hopefully with the matches being televised the sport will become more popular and grow in the country....