WITH the UK Championships already well underway in York this week, snooker star Dominic Dale is determined to avoid the illness jinx that has plagued him at the event in recent years.
Coventry-born Dale, 43, was struck down by adult chicken pox before the tournament three years ago, and was full of flu when he was knocked out in the first round by Malta’s Tony Drago last year.
But despite his bad luck in recent seasons, Dale knows the importance of an impressive performance going forward.
“I’ve got an interesting first round against Michael Wild who recently beat Judd Trump 6-0,” said Dale, who grew up in Brownshill Lane near the old Jaguar factory in Allesley.
“If you compare snooker now to how it was ten years ago, every match you play now is a bit of a test.
“I’ll be treating this match as I would if I was in a final of a tournament.
“You don’t get any ranking points if you lose your first match, so it’s very important for the seeded player to win those matches.
“The only problem with the UK Championships is that the last three years I’ve played in it, I’ve been ill, so I’m just waiting to see what I get this year.”
Despite a poor end to last season, Dale is pleased with his start to the current campaign, after achieving results that have seen him rise in the rankings.
But the former Shanghai Masters champion believes he has more to give as he looks forward to the rest of the season.
“I’ve gone up a few places in the rankings – I was always trying to get back into the top 32 by Christmas, so I’ve done that at the moment,” he said.
“Obviously the UK Championships is the second biggest tournament of the season, so I’m really gearing up for that.
“I know how capable I am as a player, and always feel deep down that I’m capable of doing well in tournaments.
“I still think I can do really well in the sport, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season now.”
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