Pro snooker star angry at having to play amateur after loss

YORK, England (AP) — After losing to an amateur in the first round of a major tournament, a former snooker world champion has blasted the decision to let a player without “a care in the world” compete against professionals.

“This is our livelihood. This is how I put food on the table,” said an angry Shaun Murphy, who lost 6-5 to Chinese player Si Jiahui at the UK Championship late Tuesday.

The tournament is widely regarded as among the top three on the snooker circuit and offers more prize money than many events.

Murphy, the No. 6-ranked player who reached the world championship final this year, was unhappy he was drawn to play against an opponent who “is not playing with the same pressures and concerns I am.”

Si fell off the main tour at the end of last season and only entered the UK Championship as an “amateur top-up” to complete the 128-player field.

“This is how I earn money,” said Murphy, the world champion in 2005. “Since turning professional at 15, I have earned the right to call myself a professional snooker player. He hasn’t done that. He shouldn’t be on the table.”

“He played,” Murphy added, “like a man who does not have a care in the world, because he does not have a care in the world. It is not fair, it is not right. I am not picking on him as a young man, he deserved his victory. Amateurs should not be allowed in professional tournaments, the end.”

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