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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Felix Keith

Shaun Murphy launched epic rant at Crucible opponent: "He shouldn't be in the building"

Shaun Murphy will be forced into an awkward reunion at the World Snooker Championship, after being drawn against a player he previously said “shouldn’t even be in the building”.

Murphy has been pitted against debutant Si Jiahui in the first round at the Crucible as he bids to continue his fine recent form. The world number four, the 2005 World Championship winner, will play the 20-year-old Chinese player in Sheffield after the draw took place on Thursday.

Si, the world No80, will be playing at the famous Crucible Theatre for the first time after earning a two-year tour card, but he has already faced Murphy on a big stage. The pair met at the UK Championship in November 2021 when Si produced an upset to win 6-5 while he was still an amateur.

He only got into the tournament after another player withdrew and his stunning victory did not go down well with Murphy, who launched into an angry rant against his opponent.

“I feel extremely hard done by that I have lost to someone who shouldn't even be in the building,” he said to BBC Radio 5 Live. “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.

Si Jiahui will play Shaun Murphy again (Getty Images)

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.”

Shaun Murphy was beaten by Si Jiahui at the 2021 UK Championship (PA)

His comments drew widespread criticism from fans of the sport, but were backed up by former world No1 Neil Robertson. The World Snooker Tour rejected his comments, stating that amateurs do face “significant pressure”, while also pointing out that Murphy benefited from the same system during his early days in snooker.

Murphy did apologise later that week, but refused to back down over the general thrust of his argument. “I think if I could go back in time I perhaps wouldn’t have said what I said, having just lost to Si Jiahui. I think it took the shine off his victory and I regret that, and I’d like to apologise to him for that,” he told the BBC.

“It was a great win, he played really well. He played better than I did and he deserved his victory. Listen, I stand by my point of view. I don’t think amateur players should be allowed to play in professional events.”

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