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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Gifted Hann guilty of wasting talent
By Phil Harlow
BBC Sport at The Crucible

Quinten Hann
Hann is not making the most of his undoubted natural talent
Snooker has always found room to accommodate its fair share of colourful characters, and Australia's mercurial Quinten Hann certainly fits the bill.

Hann lost 10-2 against Peter Ebdon on Wednesday, after a miserable opening session in which his total of missed pots was only rivalled by the number of poor safety shots.

Any snooker player can have a bad day at the office, but the reasons for Hann's shocker soon became clear in his post-match news conference.

The world number 18 freely admitted he had turned up to the morning session worse for wear after a Tuesday night on the tiles in Sheffield.

So Hann turned up to play Ebdon, the 2002 world champion, with a hangover that would have many of us putting on a sickly voice and complaining to our boss of "that bug that's going around".

Just for good measure, Hann also played with a cue hastily borrowed from a friend the day before, following a set of circumstances too complicated to go into here.

Suffice to say that the excuses did not paint a picture of a player dedicating his every waking moment to improving his standing in the game.

I intended to go out for a few beers but when the cue wasn't there I went out for a lot of beers
Quinten Hann
"I think I played quite well, considering," claimed Hann.

"I've had a nightmare this week. I don't really practice much - everyone knows that - so I only picked up my cue from Heathrow on Tuesday.

"I didn't bother looking in the case, it never crossed my mind. Then I came out to Sheffield and went out for a quick hit and a few beers and opened it up and there was no butt there.

"I intended to go out for a few beers but when the cue wasn't there I went out for a lot of beers. I had a hangover, and the migraine kicked in during the second session. By the end, I was in bits."

No-one will ever get Quinten Hann mixed up with Jonny Wilkinson.

Hann looks set to follow the well-trodden path of the naturally-talented player who found it all too easy as a youngster and never learned the necessity of practice.

The 27-year-old from Wagga Wagga knocked in a century on Australian television aged just 13, and has won the World Under-21 title and the World Eight-Ball Pool Championship.

But while snooker has never been the most physically-demanding, nor abstemious, of sports, few players have found success while playing with crippling hangovers.

The consensus on the circuit seems to be that Hann, who makes no secret of his distaste for regular practice, remains a frustratingly unfulfilled player who seems unwilling to push himself to find out how far his natural ability could take him.

In an interview with BBC Sport back in 2003, Hann suggested he was about to change the habit of a lifetime by putting in a similar amount of practice to his rivals.

And until Hann makes good on that promise, he may remain nothing more than a supremely gifted amateur in a professional world.


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