Mark Allen last night revealed that cutting down on practice could boost his chances of finally winning a major tournament.
The Antrim cueman beat Liverpool’s Rod Lawlor 4-1 yesterday in the £200,000 Welsh Open in Newport in his latest bid to win a major event following the heartbreak of six semi-final defeats.
Allen faces Masters champion Ding Junhui tomorrow for a place in the quarter-finals, the Chinese sensation yesterday edging past Scotland’s Marcus Campbell 4-3.
World number 11 Allen regularly practices with Belfast-based Joe Swail, who caused a massive upset when knocking his fellow Ulsterman out of last week’s German Masters in Berlin.
“I've only got Joe Swail to play against where I live, so I'm playing on my own a lot which can be frustrating,” said Allen.
“I played Joe in Germany and felt very uncomfortable, so I don't want to be practicing with any other players in case I feel like that against them in matches.
“I don't want too many friends on the circuit — in fact I might start slating the other players in interviews so I fall out with them!”
Practice has not been high on Allen’s agenda for the Welsh Open, won last year by three-times world champion John Higgins who plays Dave Harold today.
“I've not practiced at all, in fact until the match today I didn't lift my cue for nearly a week,” confessed Allen, who knocked in breaks of 57, 84, 59 and 58 against Lawlor.
“I think you can over-prepare for tournaments by practicing too much, then you lose in the first round!
“So I thought I'd try the opposite. If I win this tournament it might not be temporary!
“I realise you have to practice hard, but I don't feel like it at the moment, although I still love competing and playing in front of crowds.”
Northern Ireland international Gerard Greene faces Scotland’s Stephen Maguire this afternoon with a place in the last 16 up for grabs.
Tournament favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan begins his campaign tonight against Welshman Ryan Day.