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Shaun Murphy claimed “amateurs should not be allowed in professional tournaments” after suffering a shock first-round defeat against teenager Si Jiahui at the UK Championship.
Murphy trailed 5-1 against Chinese amateur Si and, although the 2008 champion mounted a comeback to tie the match at 5-5, the 19-year-old held his nerve and closed out victory in York.
“I am going to sound like a grumpy old man but that young man shouldn’t be in the tournament,” Murphy said afterwards. “It is not fair, it is not right.”
Si was the top-ranked amateur in the 128-man tournament but Murphy, who lost in the World Championship final against Mark Selby earlier this year, claimed his opponent “shouldn’t even be in the building”.
“I feel extremely hard done by that I have lost to someone who shouldn’t even be in the building,” Murphy said.
“I don’t know why we as a sport allow amateurs to compete in professional tournaments. This is our livelihood. This is our living. We are self-employed individuals and not contracted sportsmen. We don’t play for a team.
“The other 127 runners and riders in the tournament, it is their livelihood too. It is wrong, in my opinion, to walk into somebody who is not playing with the same pressures and concerns I am.
“He played like a man who does not have a care in the world, because he does not have a care in the world. It is not fair, it is not right.
“I am not picking on him as a young man, he deserved his victory. Amateurs should not be allowed in professional tournaments, the end.
“This is our livelihood. This is how I put food on the table. This is how I earn money. Since turning professional at 15, I have earned the right to call myself a professional snooker player. He hasn’t done that. He shouldn’t be on the table.”