GERMAN Masters winner Martin Gould has tipped Coventry’s Ricoh Arena to host a ranking event in the near future as he gears up for the eagerly anticipated Champion of Champions event next month.
Snooker fever will grip the city once again when the top names in the sport, including five-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and world number one Mark Selby, will fight for the right to be named the Champion of Champions from November 7-12.
One player hoping to make an impact in Coventry is World Number 20 Gould.
The 35-year-old qualified for the prestigious tournament after winning his first ever ranking event in Berlin back in February.
And having already sampled the atmosphere in Coventry at the Champion of Champions’ inaugural showing back in 2013, Gould feels it has all of the ingredients to host another top event such as the UK Championship.
“It’s a cracking venue,” Gould told the Observer. “It’s definitely a good setup there and I think the fact that the event is still going there after four years proves that it’s a venue to stay.
“You never know as time goes on it could stage another event because it has the facilities to do so and I don’t think many people would grumble about going there.
“No offence to some of the other events, but something you might have one man and his dog and it’s hard to get motivated.
“It’s always nice when you’ve got venues where you don’t have to travel around and get from your hotel to the venue to practice, come back get ready then head back to the venue and so on.
“At least you know you can literally just fall out of bed and walk into the practice room.”
The success of the Champion of Champions event in Coventry has led to previous rumours that World Snookers bosses were considering the Ricoh Arena as a venue for the UK Championship, which is the second highest ranking event on the calendar behind the World Championships.
The tournament has been played at York’s Barbican Centre in York since 2002, although it was briefly staged at the Telford International Centre for four years between 2008 and 2011.
Many top players have complained about the conditions in York and the likes of Leicester’s Selby and two-time Champion of Champions winner Neil Robertson have voiced their support for the Ricoh Arena.
A spokesperson for World Snooker said that the Ricoh Arena was a ‘fantastic venue’ and has proven to be a ‘superb location’ for the Champion of Champions.
“Don’t get me wrong York’s not far away and it’s a lovely place,” Gould continued. “But Coventry is a lot easier and closer to home and I really enjoyed playing at the Ricoh Arena.
“It’s a nice place to play and the players won’t complain as long as the venue is up to scratch, the table is playing nice and it’s one of those of the top venues on the circuit.”
As for his chances in Coventry, Gould is not planning on just making up the numbers and is aiming to cause an upset against the best players in the world.
He added: “I’m really looking forward to the event and I really hope I can produce some good stuff. If I’m there on the final night and I’m picking up the trophy that would be even better.
“My main aim is to make sure that I enjoy myself while I’m playing there and hopefully the results will come my way.
“I lost my first match there last time 4-3, but I did find the venue really nice. The table played really well, it was nice conditions and the hotel was in the venue, so you literally had to just jump out of bed and walk straight into the arena.
“Playing in front of a big crowd won’t bug me at all, in fact I’ll probably enjoy it even more and hopefully it will make me play at the standard that I know I can play.”