Martin Gould says there’s only one place for the retirement speech he’d been writing - the bin, writes Will Jennings.
The Pinner Potter blew away world No.9 Stephen Maguire at the World Snooker Championship, racking up four century breaks in Tuesday’s first session to lay the foundations for an emphatic 10-3 win.
It’s been far from straightforward for the world No.61 on the snooker circuit this season, however, having opened up on his struggles with mental health and admitting that lockdown was a ‘godsend’ and came at the perfect time.
That turmoil had Gould quilling a retirement speech but after booking a place in the last 16 in Sheffield, he says there’s no way that’s reemerging unless he lifts the Crucible trophy.
“It’s in the bin at the minute! It’s in the bin where I know I can get it back out if it needs to comeback, but hopefully that won’t be necessary just yet,” the 38-year-old said.
“The only time it might pop back out is if I’m picking the trophy up at the end of this tournament - then I might reconsider it and end on a high note!
“It wasn’t properly written out but it was in my head - I knew exactly what I was going to say and there was no changing my mind whatsoever.
“I was not in the right frame of mind, not in the right headspace, so lockdown was a bit of a godsend and gave me a chance to get myself checked and do what I had to do.
“I loved it out there and that’s the big part for me - for about a year and a half I wasn’t enjoying being out there, but I’m still in it, so I can win this.”
Gould racked up three brilliant breaks of 103 and a further 100 to take command in the game’s opening session, before efforts of 54 and 51 on Wednesday were enough to see him progress to the second round for the first time since 2011.
There he will meet world No.8 Kyren Wilson, who received a bye in his opening round after Anthony Hamilton pulled out of the tournament owing to health concerns.
Gould’s health is certainly no issue, however, as he climbs three flights of stairs a day at his hotel to stay fighting fight at the Crucible.
He even reckons he’s been reaching 67,000 steps a day - and compared his fitness regime to climbing both Everest and Kilimanjaro all in one go!
The Pinner Potter Gouldy @GouldyBalls147
Cancels his retirement plans after earning a new 2 year tour card and Qualifying for the Crucible stages of this years World Championships
Watch his candid interview 👇https://t.co/XcnR9jvEob#snooker #SnookerWorldChamps #sheffield
— Phil Mudd (@MuddPhil) July 30, 2020
“I pounded on about two stone just from piggy eating and watching TV all day in lockdown,” he added.
“I went from just under 12 stone to around 13 and a half or 14 stone - I felt massive and could feel that I’d put on too much weight.
“I’m running up and down three flights of stairs every morning, afternoon and evening - in my hotel they’ve put me on the top floor right at the end, so I’ve got like 67,000 steps to climb up and down!
“I feel like I’ve done Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro all put together! It’s nice exercise - I don’t want to use the lift and don’t want to be lazy, so I’m enjoying running up and down the stairs.”
Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from 31st July -16th August with analysis from Jimmy White.