“Though he is a much better player now, he needs to work harder.
He is a player who will be in the top 16 and we will be felicitating him probably five years from now when he comes back as the world No 1 in professional snooker,” said the two-time Asian Snooker champion (1989, 2001) on the young cueist, who was awarded the best sportsman of the year at the Sports Journalists’ Association of Mumbai (SJAM) awards at Cricket Club of India (CCI) yesterday. Drawing parallels with cricket’s batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, Merchant said: “Aditya (like Tendulkar) also grew up from the junior ranks. I have seen him when he was playing junior events.
He was not a talented youngster, but he has worked his way up. He actually epitomises perseverance.”