Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
Whirlwind Q&A
Jimmy White
Snooker legend Jimmy White has appeared in six Crucible finals and will be working as an analyst for the BBC during this year's World Snooker Championship.

Here, the 'Whirlwind' answers some of your questions as the tournament prepares to get under way.

Do you think snooker's really in a decline, or is it only natural to expect that it couldn't stay as popular as it was in its heyday?

Snooker is in better shape than ever. There's about 7m people playing snooker in the UK in hundreds of snooker clubs.

I have to admit the sport's popularity did take a bit of a dip in 2002, but its growing again and that is evident by the good TV viewing figures.

Ronnie O'Sullivan has been a big factor in the revival, because he's exciting to watch.

Don't you think that Ronnie will enjoy the challenge of meeting Ding Junhui and, very possibly, Neil Robertson in the first two rounds at Sheffield? I've got a feeling he'll give the pair very short change.

People thought Alex Higgins was fast - but he wasn't really

I actually think Neil will have a tough match against Ryan Day and it would be hard to pick a winner out of the two.

Ronnie's first session against Ding will be important. With his experience, I expect Ronnie to win, but it will be very close.

Do you intend to carry on playing for as long as you remain competitive, like Steve Davis has? Are there any other aspects of the game you will become involved in, like commentary or coaching?

I'm going to be part of the BBC's team in the studio when coverage starts on Saturday.

I don't do any coaching, but I do take part in exhibitions up and down the country and, of course, I'm still on the main tour.

I still perform to quite a high standard, so while I remain on the main tour I plan to continue playing.

Do you think there will ever be snooker at the Olympics? Maybe London would be the ideal venue to bring it in?

I totally agree. We've got snooker in the Asian Games, so I don't understand why it's not been part of the Olympics. I hope it will be part of London 2012.

The miss that stays in my memory is the black on the spot in the 1994 final

It is quite an international sport. In the 1980s, we played events in China and Hong Kong during the summer, and also went to Australia.

The game dipped a bit in the 1990s and the events were taken away, but I put that down to the fact they were really just exhibition events.

Now the China Open is a ranking event, so maybe the sport's governing body may choose to have ranking events around the world.

Do you have any tips for me when applying side to the cue ball so that I hit the object ball in the right place?

You have to allow for the side. If you are putting a lot of side on, you have to aim to hit object ball thinner because the white is swerving towards it.

What is it like to play the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and John Higgins when they are in top gear, in terms of speed and shot selection? Do they often do things you wouldn't have thought of?

No, because I have more shots than them put together.

The speed of play is fast now and Ronnie is probably the quickest of the lot.

People thought Alex Higgins was fast, but he wasn't really. He used to run round the table, but his shot time was about 20 seconds.

Do you think that Ronnie O' Sullivan is the greatest natural talent the game has ever seen?

Ronnie is the greatest player to have ever picked up a snooker cue.

People have said that about me. I won 50 or so tournaments but never picked up the World Championship. That was a little bit of a disappointment.

But in my generation Ronnie is the greatest player to have ever lived, without a shadow of a doubt.

Have any great pots or snooker escapes stayed in your mind over the years? Or any bad misses that have haunted you?

The miss that stays in my memory is the black on the spot that I threw my cue at when the scores were 17-17 against Stephen Hendry in the 1994 final.

One of my great shots was when I screwed off a pink against Kirk Stevens in the 1984 Masters which I believe is still on the internet.

I played a masse (swerve shot) against Ronnie O'Sullivan in Germany once that some say is the greatest shot of all time.

E-mail the BBC Snooker team
10 Apr 07 |  Snooker
World Championship draw
20 Mar 07 |  Snooker
World Championship order of play
18 Apr 07 |  Snooker
Crucible roll of honour
18 Apr 07 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
10 Apr 07 |  Snooker
Crucible predictor
18 Apr 07 |  Snooker
Trick-shots competition result
13 Apr 07 |  Snooker


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us