Ace cueist Pankaj Advani has revealed that in order to win back-to-back championships in 2017, he had worked on his physical fitness in order to keep up his game as he had to do something that was “never done before”.
In the latest episode of ‘The Finish Line’ hosted by Saurav Ghoshal, Advani who has 23 world titles in billiards and snooker, spoke about the preparations and mindset that went into winning back-to-back championships in two different formats.
Flying into Doha for the IBSF World Championships in 2017, he had already won 16 World tiles. He had gone there to participate in the shot format billiards, long format billiards and the best of 15 frame snooker World Championships.
“The year 2017 was a very interesting one because I had a lot of events to play in and this was the last major event of the season. I knew the conditions in Doha as I had been there a lot of times and they were doing it in a bigger arena this time. It was the first time that the World Billiards and Snooker Championships were being held back-to-back,” said Advani.
“I thought I would burn myself out, so I started focusing a lot on my fitness and prepared well physically. I worked out and ensured that I was in good condition and I thought to myself that there is an opportunity to do something that has never been done before.”
“I was playing against an extremely formidable opponent like Mike Russell and I had no choice but to produce my best to win the title. Once I got that under my belt, it gave me a lot more confidence going to the longer format and the snooker championship. I would have loved to win all three, but then of course we can’t win everything,” he added when asked about winning the two titles.
When quizzed about he was feeling before the snooker final, the 35-year-old said, “I was very nervous at the start of the snooker final because you know, there are silly thoughts running in your mind always. I mean as a sportsperson, you know that. Like for example, I had won the first billiards championship, and so then I got the bronze in the other billiards final.”
“For me, that was a loss because I am only thinking about the gold, and then when the snooker came I finally said to myself that here I have a chance to win another title, but if I lose, I will go back with only one title. But I eventually won the championship and felt content about it.”
He ended up becoming the first-ever player to win the World Billiards Championships and World Snooker Championships back-to-back, that too in space of a couple of weeks.