Snooker star Joe Perry heading Down Under in search of first ranking title

IN-FORM snooker star Joe Perry is determined to end his 20-year wait for a ranking title at the first major tournament ever to be held in Australia.

The Fen Potter, from Chatteris, flies out to join practice partner Neil Robertson in Melbourne next week before the inaugural Australian Goldfields Open starts on July 18.

Perry, the current world number 27, has been competing against the best in the game for more than two decades. But, despite reaching the latter stages of several tournaments, the 36-year-old has never managed to win a ranking event.

He said: “I’ve hit all my other targets. I’ve made the top 16, played single-table set up at the Crucible and played in major finals.

“Other players have often said to me that they can’t believe that I haven’t done better, which is nice to hear.

“I’m really looking forward to going to Australia but it’s not a holiday. I’m going out there to win the tournament.

“It would be great to win my first ever ranking event there. It would be massive for me and it would mean everything.”

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Perry made an emphatic start to the season by reaching the final of the Players’ Tour Championship last month.

A commanding performance saw him beat Fergal O’Brien 5-2 to book his place in the opening round of the Australian Open, where he will face world number three Mark Selby.

The Fen Potter, who has a new manager and has also been taking advice from snooker legend Terry Griffiths, added: “Terry is the most knowledgeable person in snooker, both tactically and mentally. I haven’t really played well for about two years but it’s all starting to come good now.

“I’m starting to relax more during my matches. I’m not scared of losing anymore - everyone does it and it’s about how you react.”

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