2024 World Snooker Championship: Shaun Murphy Defends His Pundit-Player Role and Contemplates Crucible's Fate

Shaun Murphy discusses his contrasting journey, pundit-player role, and the Crucible's future ahead of Word Champs opener.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-04-21

Naim Rosinski

8 minutes read

Exclusive with the Magician, Shaun Murphy

In an exclusive interview with ahead of his first match at the 2024 World Snooker Championships against Lyu Haotian, 2005 Champion Shaun Murphy opened up about his contrasting journey this year compared to last, his unique edge over opponents, and his complex relationship with the Crucible Theatre.

Reflections on Past Disappointments

Reflecting on his journey to the Crucible last year, Murphy acknowledged the disappointment of falling short despite being touted as a favourite. "It didn’t quite go to plan," he confessed, recounting his unexpected first-round exit. However, he found solace in the performance of his opponent, Si Jiahui, who went on to the semi-finals. "The better player certainly won," Murphy conceded.

“I was number one on the one-year list this time last year. I’d won the two previous events coming here, and I was touted as one of the favourites. I tried my best, played well and of course lost in the first round. My opponent [Si Jiahui] went onto to the semi-finals, and should have beaten Luca [Brecel], so I didn’t feel any shame in losing that one last year,” he added. 

Contrasting Seasonal Journey

This season marks a significant contrast for Murphy. While he entered last year's tournament as the leader of the one-year ranking list, he brings a valuable asset to the championship despite his form fluctuating. "Form means absolutely nothing when you get here, but unlike many players here, I know how to win it and I haven’t forgotten" he declared, emphasising his experience and knowledge of winning the championship. While not optimistic about his chances, Murphy remains confident in his ability to navigate the Crucible's challenges.

“It’s a complete role reversal for me this year, I won the first tournament of the year, and nothing since. I’ve played well, without stringing together many wins and taking silverware home. I don’t come here optimistic or with any real hopes of winning the tournament.” 


Image credit: WST

Topsy-Turvy Relationship with the Crucible

Murphy's relationship with the World Snooker Championships has been a rollercoaster of deep runs and early exits, a pattern he hopes to break this year. "I make it such a big deal in my own head," he admitted, acknowledging his tendency to get carried away. With two recent first-round exits, Murphy is determined to avoid a repeat performance.

“Because I’m such an historian and lover of snooker, I think I’m guilty of perhaps giving thus tournament too much credit. I get too excited and carried away. I seem to either have a deep run or burn out first round, I’ve done the latter the past two years, so hopefully it’s not third time running.” 

Balancing Punditry Criticism and His Playing Career

Despite his focus on the tournament, Murphy has faced criticism for his dual role as a player and television pundit. Defending his choices, Murphy highlighted the realities of being a self-employed snooker professional. "Win or lose, we’re self-employed tradespeople," he asserted, emphasising the need to balance work opportunities with his playing career.

“People ask me every tournament, why I do it, and is it a distraction? And I keep saying no, but no one seems to be taking any notice. People seem to have forgotten that it’s my life and I can do what I want. We are not employed with a safety net of wages like Premier League footballers who are on a hundred grand a week. I haven’t reached the point of wealth yet where I can turn work down, and if that ever happens, I’ll let you know.” 

The criticism initially surfaced during the 2024 Masters when Murphy continued providing punditry for the Mark Allen vs. Mark Selby quarter-final match well past midnight. This occurred despite Murphy having a semi-final clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan scheduled barely 12 hours later, which he would go onto lose. 

Vision for the Future of the Crucible

Looking ahead, the 41-year-old expressed a strong opinion on the future of the Crucible Theatre as the host venue for the World Snooker Championship. Advocating for its expansion and modernisation, Murphy highlighted the venue's historical significance and its importance to the sport. "The World Championships should stay here forever," he declared, urging Sheffield Council to invest in preserving the iconic venue.

“If it were up to me, I’d either extend or build around the Crucible and make it bigger and better. Strangely, it’s our biggest event, in the smallest venue. I hope they can find a way to make it happen. When they knocked down Wembley, at the time it was sacrilege, but they’ve re-built and changed it into an even more iconic venue. The same happened at Wimbledon. I’m not sure what Sheffield Council spend their money on, but this needs to be it.” 

Potential Two-time World Champion

As the Magician gears up for his next Crucible campaign, his reflections on past experiences, challenges, and aspirations highlight his unwavering commitment to the sport. With his first-round match against Lyu Haotian looming, Murphy's determination to leave a lasting legacy on and off the green baize shines through.

Stay tuned to for live coverage of all the excitement surrounding the World Snooker Championship 2024, directly from the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Keep yourself informed with the latest news, match results, and interviews by staying connected with our exclusive Snooker content.

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.