Shaun Murphy admits he was “mortified” at the backlash to his comments in his studio interview following victory over Mark Selby at the Players Championship on Tuesday.
Less than 48 hours after his defeat in the Welsh Open final, Murphy enjoyed a commanding 6-3 win over four-time World Champion Selby to reach the Quarter-Finals in Wolverhampton.
Murphy was asked in the ITV Sport studio by presenter Jill Douglas whether he had suffered a “lapse in concentration” when missing the occasion close range pot, and responded: “I think accusing players of lapses in concentration is one of the laziest pieces of journalism in the world.
“For people out there in snooker land to think that at the most important part of a frame or match my concentration wanders, is ridiculous.
“There are quite some interesting technical reasons why you miss those balls.
“The one with the rest in the fourth frame – I hate straight shots.
“I remember Sir Nick Faldo saying ‘the ball isn’t supposed to go in a straight line’. It’s complete rubbish [the suggestion players might be thinking ahead to their next shots].
“It’s one of those things that gets my goat.
“You don’t lose your concentration, there are always reasons why, you might be thinking about the cannon, but you are focussed.
“It’s the most important game of the season, at this time you’re thinking about Tour Champs, you’re thinking about qualification. It’s so important, to accuse players of wandering off is ridiculous.”
A fiery Shaun Murphy joined us in the studio after his victory over Mark Selby here at the Players Championship.
— ITV Snooker (@ITVSnooker) February 21, 2023
Murphy’s remarks were met with criticism on social media, with some viewers branding them ‘unnecessary’ and ‘arrogant’.
The former World Champion, who has worked as a pundit for the BBC in recent years, quickly took to Instagram to clarify the comments, insisting: “Regarding my rant in the studio about “lazy journalism”, it’s important that I make the point that I was in no way accusing the presenter of being a ‘lazy’ presenter, that’s not at all what I was trying to say.
“I have the utmost respect for her [Jill Douglas] and her colleagues. I just think all too often to say that a player make or may not have lost their concentration, there’s a lot more to it than that and I just wanted to get that point across.
“I was just trying to make more of a wider point about snooker punditry in general, and of course, I’m now one of the pundits at some tournaments.
“You become very aware of what you’re saying and what you’re not saying. I’ve said it before myself that players have ‘lost their concentration’. That may or may not be true, I don’t know what’s going on in a player’s head.
“But often there’s a very good and sometimes complicated technical reason why a player might have missed any specific shots.
“It’s one of the areas of the game’s coverage that the broadcasters, all of them, could be better at explaining.
“We could all go a little bit deeper into it but still make it understandable for people who aren’t experts.
“I was mortified to see a couple of comments on Twitter, people were saying that it was ‘a bit unnecessary’ and even a little bit rude.
“So apologies if that was the way it came across, I certainly didn’t mean that.
“I have a great respect for Jill [Douglas] and all the team.”
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Just wanted to make clear that in terms of my post match studio “rant” I was in no way accusing @JillADouglas of being a “lazy journalist”. I’ve seen a few comments where people think that’s what I meant and I certainly didn’t. Hop over to @instagram for more 👍🏻
— Shaun Murphy (@Magician147) February 21, 2023