Anthony McGill struggling for motivation as he ponders: ‘What’s the point?’ amid difficult Covid pandemic



DISILLUSIONED Scot Anthony McGill has revealed he’s hit one of the lowest ebbs of his blossoming career.

Last season the Glaswegian cueman sparkled to reach his maiden World Championship semi-final and impressed to reach the Championship League semi-finals.

But this season the two-time ranking event winner has failed to get past the fourth-round stage of the eight ranking tournaments he’s entered in.

And with every tournament barring this week’s Welsh Open staged at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes because of the coronavirus pandemic, world No 16 McGill just can’t get motivated to perform.

Players are confined to their hotel rooms for long periods and the bio-secure bubble life has been testing their mental strength.

Compatriot Graeme Dott revealed this week his depression has returned, while other top players including Stephen Maguire and Mark Allen have struggled with the strict Covid rules.

“It’s difficult to see the bigger picture right now, it all feels a bit pointless,” admitted a dejected McGill.

“It’s difficult to motivate yourself because every event just rolls into one. Every event feels the same, there’s no crowd. It’s a bit boring. 

“It’s just difficult to see the end goal. You just think ‘what’s the point whether you win or lose?’

“It just feels like you’re going to work, but for me one of the things about snooker is it’s not just about going to work. It’s about wanting to feel like you have something to achieve.

“You don’t want to feel like you’re just turning up and picking up your wages, you want feel like there’s something to improve on and achieve.

“You usually get a buzz when you wake up in the morning if you’re practicing for a big tournament. Right now they just don’t really feel that important.

“Everyone’s in the same boat, but I think they [the other players]probably all feel the same.”

McGill, 30, burst on to the professional scene when he reached the Scottish Professional Championship in April 2011.

But during the last decade the talented potter has only shown glimpses of his undoubted potential.

He reached the UK Championship and World Championship quarter-finals in the 2014-15 season and finally end his long wait for ranking titles by winning the Shootout and Indian Open crowns in the 2016-17 season.

But his two semi-finals appearances last season is the last time Scotland’s brightest hope showed glimpses that another major title might be around the corner.

And with the World Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre in the horizon, McGill is desperate to find a spark to reignite his season.

“I’d rather have the opportunities to play and I’m really grateful for it, but it’s just a bit difficult to motivate yourself,” offered McGill, who has to travel six hours in car just to play in events.

And if he loses it’s the same length journey home with strict travel conditions because of coronavirus.

“The travelling’s fine because you’ve been travelling for years, but it’s just playing in a room. 

“You’re in a room in Milton Keynes, no crowd and the tournaments don’t feel like they’ve got any identity to them. It all feels a bit soulless. 

“It’s a privileged thing to be complaining about because we’re lucky to still be able to earn money.

“But if you’re in a normal tournament you see people and there’s a bit of a buzz around the place.

“It’s no one’s fault it’s just the way of the world right now.”


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