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Tuesday, 13 March, 2001, 12:47 GMT
Wattana: 'I may quit'
James Wattana
Wattana felt the burden of expectations in Bangkok
James Wattana is considering quitting snooker after his humiliating loss to Mike Dunn in the last qualifying match of the Thailand Masters.

Wattana was expected to defeat Englishman Dunn, who stands 65 places below him on the rankings and was making his first overseas trip in 10 years on the professional circuit.

But the world number 27 and local hero crashed to a 5-4 defeat after potting only four balls in the last two frames.

Wattana, 31, told the Bangkok Post: "Shame on me. There was a lot of pressure, I lacked confidence and concentration.

"I thought I was bad enough at the Asian Games two years ago but this performance was even worse.

"I have no form and no confidence. If I can only play like this I had better quit snooker for good."

Wattana said he may have succumbed to the huge pressure of playing in a televised match on his home turf, where he won the title in 1994 and 1995.

Sporting idol

"I may need surgery to create a new man," he said when asked whether he may consult a sports psychologist. "I really don't know what to do."

Bangkok-born Wattana took up snooker at the age of nine. He was crowned world amateur champion in 1988, turning professional the following year.

In 1992 he won the World Matchplay, beating Steve Davis 9-4 in the final - a victory which sealed his status as a sporting idol in Thailand.

James Wattana
Wattana is experiencing a crisis of confidence
As well as his back-to-back Thai Masters wins, he won the Strachan Professional title in 1992, and was British Open runner-up for three successive seasons from 1992.

In 1993, Wattana reached the semi-finals of the Embassy World Championship and lead Jimmy White 5-0 before losing 16-9.

The eighth player in snooker history to earn more than 1m at the match table, he achieved a highest world ranking of three in 1994-95.

Wattana reached the final four of the Embassy again in 1997, losing 17-3 to Stephen Hendry, but has since seen his fortunes decline.

Problems with his eyesight have helped to undermine his confidence, and he even resorted to going on a religious retreat last summer, all to no avail.

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See also:

10 Nov 00 |  Other Sports
Wattana falls after failing his sums
14 Oct 00 |  Other Sports
Wattana dumped out by Burden
11 Jul 00 |  Other Sports
Snooker seeks Asia boom
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