India's lone snooker professional sees NSCI event as an opportunity to get more matches under his belt before the World Cup in China
India's lone snooker professional, Aditya Mehta, and former professional, Pankaj Advani, are in the 32-man draw for the first RKG Open tournament's finals which commenced yesterday.
Aditya Mehta (right) and Pankaj Advani light a lamp during the announcement of RKG Open tournament at the National Sports Club of India (NSCI), Worli yesterday
Both Mehta and Advani have won one leg each out of the four legs held earlier to qualify for the finals being played at the NSCI Stadium in Worli before figuring in the World Cup, featuring top players from 23 countries and to be played on the Davis Cup format, commencing on June 15 in China.
"I played the Chennai leg and won and that's why I qualified. It's a good match practice. I want to put more matches under my belt and I look at this event as a good preparation for the World Cup starting next Monday," said Mehta.
The tournament, a straight knock-out event carrying a total prize of R21 lakh with R2.5 lakh earmarked for the winner to be decided on June 13, will see all the top cueists of the country in action.
"My (professional) season has started. I went to UK about two weeks ago, played my first event there and my next event is in China (from June 15-21 at the World Cup at Wuxi City Sports Park Stadium). I decided to come to India, play this event on the way and fly to China," said Mehta.
Mehta said his aim in the pro circuit in UK this season was to do better than last year when he was hampered by neck and back injuries that put him out of action for four months. "I started the season ranked 54, having dropped a bit from last year. It's a new year and I have a chance to move up.
Fit and raring to go
"I was injured most of last year, moved base to London (from Sheffield), had a new coach (Mukesh Parmar) and (in general) had a lot of things going on. Luckily I am fit now and happy with my new coaching," said the Mumbai-born cueist. Mehta did not specify any target that he wanted to achieve, except to say he wanted to win more and more matches and go up the ranks.
"It's the same as always, to win as many matches. I can move up the rankings. Am still quite far down. The goal is a lot higher but I want to take one match at a time and do better than last year. As long as I am higher than where I start off I should be pleased," he said.
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