SHAUN Murphy admits he is scratching his head over why he has failed to perform in Coventry again after crashing out of the Champion of Champions event for the third consecutive year.
The 2005 World Champion was favourite to progress out of Group 4 on Thursday at the Ricoh Arena along with Australian Neil Robertson.
But Murphy came up against a talented Yan Bingtao and the 15-year-old Chinese sensation produced another big shock by taking a deserved 4-2 win.
“I can’t put my finger on why I haven’t done well here – it’s a bit of a head scratcher,” Murphy told the Observer.
“For some reason I always seem to play poor here. I’ve never played well here which is a shame and I don’t know why.
“The table has been slow all week and the pockets have been playing quite small too because of that but on Thursday a couple of shots found me out.
“All you can do is try and learn from these types of matches and the mistakes that you make and move on.
“It’s a very, very big tournament because it’s only for winners. You play all season winning tournaments to get the rewards like playing in an event like this.
“Because it’s just winners it means it’s just people that are very, very good. One mistake against a 15-year-old or a 50-year-old and you’ll probably lose.
“On Thursday there was a few too many mistakes and I’ll have to go back to the drawing board.”
Many viewers may not be aware of teenager Bingtao who went on to lose 6-3 against Robertson on Thursday evening.
But Murphy is fully aware of his talent and is tipping China’s latest star to have a bright future in the sport.
“He’s part of the World Cup winning team, a very worthy player and he proved it against me.
“Age is no barrier to success these days and in snooker the truth has always been if you’re good enough then you’re old enough.
“He’s 15 and he’s got a great, great career ahead of him. I’m disappointed to have lost but I thought he played every well.
“I’ve certainly played better but I’ve also played a lot worse and won, but full credit to him.”
Looking ahead Murphy is looking on the bright side and looking at getting his head down to make improvements ahead of the first ‘triple crown’ of the season in York.
“The silver lining might be that I’ve got an extra few days to prepare for the UK Championship,” Murphy added. “It’s not what I wanted but you don’t always get what you want.
“I’d anticipated being in this event for the rest of the week. That’s now not the case so all I can really do is get back on the practice table.”