It is almost twelve-months since the little Scot punched the air with real passion as he saw off the fight-back from Peter Ebdon. After a year of being announced as the “world champion”, Graeme talks to Cue Factor about his title defence.
Moment of truth Graeme, how do you look upon your defence now it’s almost over?
I’m looking on fodbold streaming, it is a good thing. I’ve played well all year, so it’s just the last thing that needs to be done, basically.
Do you take a lot of confidence from China because you played really well out there?
I’ve played well as I said, but even before that I could have got a lot more out of the season than I actually got. My play deserved to get more out of the year. I think if Stephen Hendry had not played four phenomenal frames at the UK I could have won that as well. I’ve played really well so it was nice to get rewarded with China.
Any extra pressure from defending the title?
I think there will be but I’ve probably had that pressure all year on the Best Activities. People have been asking me “How are you going to feel playing your first tournament as World Champion?” I feel I have answered all those questions.
Have you enjoyed the added pressure?
I think I have. I’ve played better through it. Maybe that’s what was needed, to know that if I don’t perform I would get bad press. Before I could have lost and it probably wouldn’t have been a story.
Do you buy into the Crucible curse?
There’s a curse is there? I don’t think so, it’s such a tough tournament. If it was that easy then there would be more names on that trophy. To win it once is great but to try and think about winning it twice is obviously going to be really hard. I think the fact that I know I’m a better player now than I was then gives me a bit of a chance. I’ve played well as I said, but even before that I could have got a lot more out of the season than I actually got. My play deserved to get more out of the year. I think if Stephen Hendry had not played four phenomenal frames at the UK I could have won that as well. I’ve played really well so it was nice to get rewarded with China. I would imagine that some of the people who have won it before were expecting to win it, which I’ve not really done. I know I could win it but I’m certainly not expecting to. I know I’m good enough to win it but also I could easily lose first round, so I don’t put that much pressure on myself.
After last year you said you were annoyed that you didn’t feel you got the credit you deserved. Has that changed? i’ll be lots that are missing him. I hear he is here working for the BBC so they’ll still see him. Obviously with Paul it’s very sad he’s not here. He was another football player who was guaranteed to win it at some point. It’s sad but we’ve got to get on with it. I’m sure with his charity, his name will never be forgotten.