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Snooker chief Barry Hearn answers your questions

Snooker chief Barry Hearn
New supremo Barry Hearn is hoping to introduce new changes to snooker

Ahead of the World Championship, which starts on 17 April, new snooker chief Barry Hearn answers some of the questions you e-mailed to BBC Sport.

The new WPBSA chairman was quizzed about his tips for the Crucible, his plans for new tournaments and whether it was true he had made two century breaks.


How does it feel to be chairman of snooker?
Daniel, Ireland

It's tough, very motivating and I love it. By the start of the championships the dust will have settled and I will know what I'm proposing to the players.

There will be fundamental changes, more opportunities, more events with different formats and I'm needing 100% support. And I expect to get it.

Who's your tip for the World Championship?
Sally, Glasgow

Ronnie O'Sullivan if he brings his A game. If he doesn't then I can see one of the Chinese boys winning it.

I do hope that Steve Davis gets a special award for his 30th appearance at the Crucible. I'm sure Davis would be so proud of himself and you would be proud of him too.
Philip, Telford

He is unbelievable. I was in Singapore when the qualifiers were on and I couldn't sleep when my phone went. A 52-year-old was screaming: "I've only gone and won!" I was disappointed golfer Tom Watson didn't win the Open so I'm relying on Davis because I live in an age of nostalgia. We could even beat the 18.5m television audience if Steve got to the world final. His attitude sums up how important this event is. Players should look at Steve and learn the lesson of why we are here. It's not just about the game. Steve was born to play snooker - he's an inspiration. Why he's not a Sir I will never know. That enthusiasm to get through the qualifiers after 34 years is mind-blowing. I've managed him for 34 years and he hasn't been a problem for a single day. I'm proud to call him my best friend. He may look like a Big Issue seller but he's one of the world's best ambassadors across any sport.

Will the players be walking out to music at the worlds?
Lucy, Brighton

Steve Davis
Hearn says Steve Davis should be a Knight of the baize

I'm still thinking about it. I still want to retain the awe of the tournament and make each event look different.

I love what you have done with darts and are beginning to do with snooker. Any chance of resurrecting Big Break or a similar style show to TV?
Bob, UK and.....

With new tournaments in the pipeline could there be a Premier League style club competition for snooker like a franchise system where a city in England or abroad get given a team?
Shames, England

There are hundreds of ideas but I've got bigger issues at stake in the short term. Let me get the players out there playing and do what they do best and the good ideas can come later. You have to get the core business sorted first and then you can have some fun later.

Will you be looking at getting the crowds more involved? I am a massive snooker fan and have been watching the sport since the 80s but I've never been to a live event because it is more fun watching at home or at the pub.
Pavinder, England and....

Snooker is generally observed in deadly silence, would you consider allowing a bit more of a raucous crowd? Do you feel this would detract from the tension of the big matches?
Andy, UK

Yes, I will definitely be encouraging that. But probably with the tournaments that have the shorter formats. Some will get extensive changes in the shorter game. I want it to be fun and I want people to be able to tell the difference like between the Twenty20 games and Test matches in cricket.

Any chance of putting the players in lounge suits for the morning and afternoon sessions at the Crucible? It will give each player the chance to show their character and individualism.
Nicky, England

No!

Will there be more tournaments to facilitate those outside the top 32 making a living? How many tournaments will there be next year?
Eamonn, Ireland

There's going to be a ranking event in Germany. I'm thinking of the next 12 months and should reveal some things before the World Championships. The future will depend on success. I'm going for it straight away. I'm planning for a few years and I need to know who's with me. I'm 62 this year and I haven't got much time! It sounds big headed but anyone who disagrees with me just needs to look at my track record. This is a wedding not a dinner date!

Chas and Dave line up for Snooker Loopy
Could the famous Snooker Loopy song be set for a drastic revamp?

Can you give any specific information on bringing snooker to Europe? Will we see a series of ranking tournaments in places like France, Germany, Netherlands or Italy in the near future?
Nathan, England

There will be a new pro tour across Europe. It is an enormous growth area for us but they don't happen by chance. We need to fly the flag and show them our product. I'm optimistic for the next three to five years. We will have a big ranking event in Berlin next February.

What's your highest break? I heard somewhere that you've made a couple of century breaks.
Shazad, England

My highest break is 53. I did make an 87 in practice but that doesn't count! I used to play for a lot of money - £6,000 money matches which were best of 15 frames. I'd play all night. If I lost I'd go home and stay downstairs. If I won, I'd go into my bedroom, turn the light on and throw the cash all over my wife.

If you were a professional player, what would your nickname be?
Sami, Netherlands

It would have to be the Guv'nor because that's the way I lead my life.

What music would you come out to at a tournament?
Ben, Bangor

The Gamblers theme by Kenny Rogers.

How about doing a 2010 version of Snooker Loopy?
Jonathan, England

I like it. I wouldn't have the old boys though. I'd get the younger players in and do a cover version - perhaps a rap version or hip hop. It's a great idea. I wouldn't be in it though - I'd be directing.

Provide the headline if you were writing a story about you right now?
James, Northampton

There's a brave new world - have you got the balls?


Barry Hearn was talking to BBC Sport's Mark Ashenden.



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see also
O'Sullivan handed tricky opener
11 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Hearn warns players of mediocrity
12 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Hearn looking to conquer Europe
19 Jan 10 |  Snooker
Hearn confirmed as snooker chief
17 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Doherty secures place at Crucible
08 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Davis victory earns Crucible spot
07 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Snooker's bruising battleground
04 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Higgins earns third world crown
04 May 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker


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