Showman Shaun Murphy hit back at Kyren Wilson’s claims he looked ‘silly’ by over-celebrating during his scintillating 17-12 victory in the World Championship semi-finals, writes Will Jennings.
Murphy sparkled under the Saturday night lights as he rattled off five frames on the spin to tee up a tantalising final against three-time world champion Mark Selby.
Murphy, crowned king of the Crucible in 2005, was criticised by an angry Wilson who accused his fired-up fist pumping after taking an 11-9 lead of being over-the-top and unnecessary.
The Magician slammed the world No.6’s observation and believes his emotive antics should blaze a post-lockdown trail for other top players to follow.
World No.7 Murphy, 38, said: “We are in a theatre and we are putting on a show.
“We are in the entertainment business. Everybody’s been locked up and isolated for the past year and they want to see a show, and it’s our job to put on a show and entertain them.
“There is more to winning major snooker events in front of live audiences than just hitting the cue ball in a straight line. There’s a lot more that goes into it than on-the-table theatrics, and maybe that’s a stone Kyren hasn’t looked under yet.
“It means more than anything, and fist pumps – I personally don’t have a problem with that. I think we need that in sport and it’s something that snooker doesn’t have in common with other sports.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I didn’t feel I was disrespectful to Kyren in any way – it was celebrating my shots at my time, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
“It means so much to all of us. We talk about the players who come here who haven’t won – they’re chasing it and they’re dedicating their whole lives to being out there and lifting that particular trophy.
“It means everything to us – we play in all these events all over the season, the majors are the biggest events in the game and this one is the biggest of those.”
Murphy and Wilson went into Saturday evening’s climax locked at 12 frames apiece but the Magician conjured up all his old tricks to blow the Warrior away.
Murphy, a nine-time ranking event winner, knocked in brilliant successive breaks of 78, 91 and 117 to haul himself in front and place him two frames from the final.
Wilson, last year’s Sheffield runner-up behind Ronnie O’Sullivan, had no reply and further breaks of 77 and 58 from Murphy propelled him into a fourth World Championship final.
Murphy has endured a turbulent year on the behind closed doors circuit but says lifting the storied trophy for the second time would cap another snooker fairytale.
Murphy, who stormed to World Championship nirvana as a 22-year-old qualifier 16 years ago, added: “There’s been a lot of soul searching and I’ve spent a lot of dark days in hotel rooms isolating.
“It’s been very difficult getting off this island with the pandemic going on and all the travel restrictions.
“There’s been lot of soul searching, a lot of hard questions and a lot of trying to unravel the problem on the table.
“The clueless 22-year-old who breezed in here in 2005, didn’t really understand what the whole professional game was about and took the trophy home, was very excited.
“And as a 38-year-old married father of two, it’s still just as exciting.”
Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3
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