Joe Perry bowed out of the World Snooker Championship today (April 27) but after his best season as a professional he agrees life really does begin at 40.
Perry resumed trailing Shaun Murphy 12-4 and despite winning the opener to prolong the inevitable, he was soon back in the locker room with a 13-5 defeat.
Prize money just shy of £343,000 for the last 12 months was topped up with an additional £20,000 following this defeat.
Perry has spent 24 years plugging away on the snooker circuit, yet only last month he achieved a career-high world ranking of ninth following his first-ever ranking tournament win in Bangkok.
And though his association with coach Terry Griffiths is about to come to an end, Perry hopes he can continue to make waves.
“It’s been my best season, in terms of wins, performance, finance. Onwards and upwards for me, things are getting better,” said Perry. “My world title shot is over, but I’ll be back next year.
“I’m still improving. Terry Griffiths has helped me with the mental side of my game, my temperament is so much better now. I don’t get annoyed and beat myself up if I play bad shots.
“I’ve got used to the pressures of handling the snooker tour. It’s not easy - a lot of players are struggling to come to terms with it.
“I’ve come to terms with it really well. I enjoy the travelling, I enjoy the challenge, the constant tournaments coming at you thick and fast. I’ve adapted quite well and my game is flourishing.
“No one likes playing just five or six times each year. That was massive pressure - every tournament was like a pint of blood. You knew you wouldn’t play for another few months. I think every player, whether they have moaned about it or not, prefers it the way it is now.”
Perry, who had been impressive in beating China’s Zhang Anda in round one, trailed Murphy 7-1 after Sunday’s opening session.
He found himself on a dismal run of losing nine frames in a row, though Murphy needed just one century to inflict such damage in a match Perry felt on another day might have gone his way.
The 40-year-old won three of the final five frames on Sunday night to ensure he would at least live to fight another day, but his race was run after Murphy made a break of 69 to book his place in the last eight.
“I just didn’t get going in the first session, I just didn’t settle,” added Perry.
“I started chasing the game and Shaun is a great frontrunner. He’s very aggressive, very attacking and you don’t want him to be in front in the mood he is in. I just never recovered from a bad start.
“Everyone knows when you come to the Crucible it is a marathon, but one bad session can ruin your chances of winning. I had that and you just don’t recover.”
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