Ryan Day discovers where his game went wrong, but corrects it admirably (Image: Getty Images)
Ryan Day let his snooker career slip through his fingers through a mixture of complacency and bad luck, but the unexpected bonus of a shoot-out title saved his skin and brought the Welshman back to life.
Day, who has reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup three times, is sixth in the world rankings and 32nd in the last 15.
Still, results have been hard to come by in the last two seasons, and no player is safe from a drop in the standings if he doesn’t win.
Dynamite didn’t make it to the second round of the standings last season, which sounds crazy, but his results at the beginning of this season were also unconvincing, leaving him 50th at the Shoot Out and seriously worried about his place on the tour.
Seven frames later he was 50,000 pounds heavier, returned to 32nd place and found a new life at snooker.
Considering Day made four quarter-finals and one final at the Gibraltar Open in the 2018/19 season, that’s a remarkable fall and he knows why it happened.
I think that’s how I live my life, I get a bit complacent when I’m successful, Day told Metro.co.uk. It’s a trait I’ve had since I was a child.
When I’ve done something good, I tend not to do it without forcing it, it’s a character flaw. But two years later, I desperately needed something, and it’s a bonus that no one expected this weekend.
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I was in a quandary when it came to investments. Someone told me I could be number 57 at the end of the season. I didn’t know it was that low,
It was a real possibility if I lost in Wales and then in Gibraltar because I have the last points, so I would go to the World Cup under all sorts of pressure to stay in the circuit.
The victory in the penalty shootout came at the perfect time, with Day’s ranking in decline and morale low after a 4-0 loss against Barry Hawkins at the German Masters in January.
Giving up such a leading role was something totally new for the brilliant Bridgend musician, and although he admits it hit him hard, he will never accept that he was doomed to leave the tour.
People can sometimes take a beating when they’re struggling, you can hear that when you talk to them, but I never wanted to go down without a fight, Ryan continued.
The game against Hawkins was one of my three worst losses as a pro, but maybe it was the kickback I needed.
I wasn’t playing very well before the break, just pointing out Barry’s mistakes. After the break I couldn’t create a good chance for the 4-2 and since then there was a bit of a fog, to be honest, the next day and a half was foggy too. It was a low point, but of course, the Shoot Out was the perfect tournament before the next game, no time to think or dwell on anything.
I now hope to develop it further in Wales, Gibraltar and around the world, just like the Cazoo series.
Day won the shoot in impressive fashion, beating Mark Selby in the final (Photo: WST).
When Day won the Shoot Out title, it was noticed that his position as number 50 in the world seemed totally irrelevant, but now he knows how easily rankings can change.
In recent years, the way the rankings work, you see certain players come in and you think: My God, how are you? Said Mr. Day.
Not just me, but if you don’t win games and get to the bottom of this, you can go down fast. Especially when I made it to the quarterfinals in the odd final two years ago, of course they backed off.
Like most players when talking about the Shoot Out, Day is a little hesitant to take all the credit for the title he deserves, given the unique format of the event.
But it’s a tournament he’s always supported, and he knows it took a certain talent to win this trophy, which he proudly displays at the other two titles.
Shooting is always fun, and of course the result is much better, he said. You can never go there with high expectations, you just try to take advantage of it and hopefully get a tee shot on the greens, play well, and it can happen.
They say anyone can win, I don’t think that’s true. You have to be a certain kind of person. You have to stay calm when the beeps come, it can get on your nerves, and you have to get out of it, and you have to play well. Everything goes well on the weekend.
It’s just something totally unexpected. I think it’s Shoot Out, but it’s a great event that I’ve supported for the past few years. Personally, I don’t agree that this is a hearing, but as long as it is, I’m not going to stick my nose in other people’s business. It came at the right time in my career and I hope I can develop it further now.
Day reached the Tour of 16 in the standings (Photo: Getty Images).
Day’s latest results have not been helped by the disruption of Covid’s positive test in the British Championship and a long period of uncertainty about his leads, or rather his directions.
I got him just before the summer, when the Champions League started, he explained. It is the same billiard manufacturer in Thailand, same size, length, weight, shape, but it is a unique model that I have never used.
I had a previous device for about 18 months. I had one of his sticks that I won the Riga [Masters] with, and he worked on it and broke it, so I’ve had six or seven of his sticks since he broke it. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
Hopefully the changes to his signal are behind him and the failed Covid tests should also come after a very disappointing test in December.
The failure of the Covid test in the UK was a disaster, the second biggest event, which greatly stalled the season, Day said.
Friday was the funeral of my best friend’s father. I was at a funeral and I drank too much Guinness. I thought I was drunk, not thinking and not sleeping enough.
I took the test and knocked on the hotel door Monday morning, I knew what it was and I failed. Almost immediately they were loaded and placed in quarantine for 10 days. It was like an eviction, in the car and in the house. After a few days I got a headache, then I lost my smell and taste, but I wasn’t really sick. I thought something was wrong, I sprayed a lot of aftershave on my arm and I felt nothing.
Day secured a place in the Player of the Year championship this month and next season by winning a penalty shootout (Photo: Getty Images)
Day travels to his national tournament, the Welsh Open, this week to build on the confidence he gained during the Shootout.
Local fans won’t be supporting him at the new venue at Celtic Manor, as the event is taking place behind closed doors, but that might not be such a bad thing.
It’s a great place, especially for the Ryder Cup, the hotel, the golf course, all the facilities are second to none, Day said.
I’ve never liked the craze of people wanting to come [to the Welsh Open]. I guess that’s why I have a bad track record. People keep calling for tickets, it gets on my nerves, but there’s no one here this year, so I have no excuse. The morning of the game, people will be covering you with tickets. You’re telling me you only have to pay five pounds to buy a ticket!
It would be nice to win my own tournament, so to speak. But after last weekend I’m excited to play, my confidence will be good, so we’ll see what happens.
Day is back on track and more confident than two years ago. He’s a threat again and will be in Newport this week.
MORE: Ryan Day thought his career was on the line for his spectacular win at Snooker Shoot Out.
MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan then shines and stumbles in Champions League snooker.
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