Ali Carter reflects on World Masters of Snooker experience: ‘It was a weird one’

Ali Carter had a frustrating run out in Riyadh (Picture: Zhai Zheng @zhaizhengqd)

Ali Carter felt the World Masters of Snooker in Saudi Arabia had an unusual feel to it, reminiscent of an exhibition event but with eye-watering riches to be won.

The invitational tournament in Riyadh last week featured the world’s top 10 plus two wildcards and there was a lot of money on the line.

Ronnie O’Sullivan took home the trophy and the top prize of £250,000, with runner-up Luca Brecel earning £125,000 from the three-day event.

Semi-finalists won £75,000, an immense amount for the two players who lost at that stage as Judd Trump and Mark Allen needed to win just one best-of-seven game to go home with that hefty chunk of cash.

Carter was beaten by Brecel in the quarter-finals, winning £50,000 for his troubles and he said that the huge amount of money on the line made for a strange experience.

‘It’s a weird one, there was so much pressure because we were playing for so much money out there in such a short format. I think it all added up to being a really good event,’ Carter told WST’s Snooker Club podcast.

‘The quarter-finals stage we were paying for £75,000, that’s like winning a Home Nations event or the German Masters [both are £80,000] and it’s just your first or second round match.

2024 MrQ Masters Snooker - Day 8

Ali Carter will be hoping to return to be back in Saudi Arabia for more big-money events (Picture: Getty Images)

‘In a best-of-seven you don’t have to do a lot wrong for it to go wrong.’

Asked if the money meant more than the title in Riyadh, the Captain said: ‘I would say so because it felt like a bit of an exhibition event, but clearly it wasn’t because we were playing for so much money. It was a weird one.

‘The Triple Crown events you want to do well in them because they’re the events with all the history and as a snooker player they’re the ones you want on your CV.

‘The money is nice, of course it is, we all need to earn money, but that’s secondary. A tournament like Saudi Arabia as a new event, everyone knows the money that’s being pumped in out there.

‘If I’d have won it, absolutely brilliant, but the winner’s prize would have been more important to me and I think if players were speaking truthfully they’d say that rather than the title.’

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan picked up the trophy in Riyadh (Picture: Zhai Zheng @zhaizhengqd)

Carter’s only match in Riyadh was the disappointing 4-1 defeat to the world champion, during which he became somewhat frustrated.

The Captain has been working hard on the mental side of the game with coach Chris Henry, thinking positively and trying not to get riled up as he did regularly in the past.

However, events conspired to bring out the old Mr Angry and Carter admits his ‘head fell off’ as a result.

‘I did have a bad time out in Saudi and the old Ali Carter came out against Luca Brecel a little bit,’ he said. ‘There was a lot of things that happened up towards me playing that match that put me in the wrong frame of mind.

‘The match before went on an hour late. The driver picked me up from the hotel and we got lost on the way there, so I was in the car for the best part of an hour.

‘Then I rock up it was still 0-0! It was about 6.30-6.45pm, the game went 4-3 on the black, so I was sat in this little room for three-and-a-half hours waiting to play.

‘I ended up missing a brown I should never miss and the old Ali Carter came out. My head fell off.’

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