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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 March, 2004, 01:14 GMT
Maguire ready for big time
Stephen Hendry
Maguire played at the same club as Stephen Hendry
Stephen Maguire is so serious about building on his first big-time snooker victory that he has suspended celebrations until the summer.

The Glaswegian was the surprise winner of the European Open in Malta, beating the legendary Jimmy White in the final.

But Maguire told BBC Sport: "I will turn 23 on Saturday but will wait a few weeks until the end of the season before having a right good party.

"The main thing is not to let it go to my head and to build on my victory."

Maguire had long been tipped to become the next Scot to break into the world's elite alongside the likes of former world champions Stephen Hendry and John Higgins.

I started to wonder myself if it was ever going to happen
Stephen Maguire
For that, he pays tribute to his grandparents for encouraging him at a young age as he grew up in the Milton area in the north of Glasgow.

"They had a table in the house and that allowed me to practice more regularly as I could not afford to go to a club every day," he recalls.

At 15, he began playing at the same Stirling club as Hendry, who took him under his wing and was soon predicting great things from the young pretender.

Now Maguire is ready to live up to the billing and, having lived on a steady but unremarkable 30,000 a year, can bank a winner's cheque for 48,000 that will go a long way to financing his travel and living costs on tour.

"I was talking about that at the start of the season and the last couple of years was beginning to get me down," he admitted.

"People kept telling me that I have always had the game and I started to wonder myself if it was ever going to happen.

"But this season I tried not to think about it. I just decided to play snooker for myself, because I enjoy it, and it has paid off."

Maguire thanks another former world champion, Terry Griffiths, for helping with the mental side of his game and believes he is ready to start challenging for more top honours.

"I led Joe Swail 9-6 at the Crucible and Ian McCulloch 4-1 at the British Open and letting those leads slip allowed them to go on to make lots of money and move up the rankings," he said.

"Now it is my turn and I can relax more now.

"It means that I am guaranteed a top-32 finish this season - I was borderline before - but now I want to aim for the top 16 next season."




SEE ALSO
White through to final
05 Mar 04  |  Snooker


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