Hossein Vafaei back in Crucible spotlight: ‘I love to be centre of attention’

Hossein Vafaei is back on the biggest stage (Picture: Getty Images)

Hossein Vafaei is relishing a Crucible return after coming through World Championship qualifying, saying: ‘I just love to be centre of attention.’

The Iranian beat Marco Fu in his opening qualifier and then downed talented teenager Jiang Jun 10-5 on Judgement Day to secure his place in the first round Crucible draw.

The Prince of Persia was very impressed with Jiang, an 18-year-old who is on his first year on tour and came through three rounds before losing to Vafaei.

‘I wasn’t playing great to be honest, after the interval I was thinking “oh my god, that was the worst performance I had in my life.” I washed my face, came back and after that I started playing well,’ said Vafaei.

‘The guy is just an unbelievable potter. One of the best potters I have ever seen in my life. He is really talented.

‘He is different and he is just pots everything from everywhere. It’s hard to control those opponents, you don’t know where to put the cue ball, you have to put the cue ball in your pocket.’

The 29-year-old made a splash at last year’s World Championship, beating Ding Junhui in round one and then engaging in a war of words with Ronnie O’Sullivan before crashing out at the hands of the Rocket.

2023 Northern Ireland Open - Day 3

Jiang Jun caught the eye in qualifying but fell short (Picture: Getty Images)

Vafaei may not replicate those kind of verbal fireworks, but he is looking forward to the biggest stage in the sport and getting the chance to show his stuff again

‘I love to put myself in the big events and stay in the big events as much as I can, to show a good performance, I just love it,’ he said.

‘This is the reason I love to be in the big events, with a big crowd. I just love to be centre of attention.’

A danger for any of the seeds, he is not concerned by the name that comes out of the hat on Thursday morning’s draw.

‘I don’t care, any opponent, just put me there in the Crucible,’ he said. ‘I will play anyone. I don’t care.’


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