Snooker - Swail undecided over Tour return

Joe Swail may have qualified for the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals but he is unsure if he will return to the professional tour this season.

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Snooker - Swail into Rotterdam last 16
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Joe Swail (Imago)

Belfast’s Swail admits he has missed playing in snooker’s biggest tournaments as he looks forward to the event in Galway, which he qualified for via some good performances in several PTC events, culminating in his appearance at the Paul Hunter Classic final in Germany in August.

But, despite yearning for more big tournament appearances, Swail – who competed as an amateur in those events – concedes he would not want to return to the pro circuit unless he was able to challenge for titles.

“I have missed playing in the big tournaments because snooker is in my blood,” said Swail, 43. “Getting to that final in Germany gave me a great buzz.

"I’m excited about Galway now because it’s been quite a while since I had a really big event to look forward to.

“I’d like to think that I will give (the pro tour) a try but I’m still undecided. I don’t want to go back just to make up the numbers, I’m only going to play if I feel that I can cut it.

"I want to compete and climb back up the rankings and if I don’t feel I can do that then I won’t turn pro. I have to be true to myself and make sure I’m not kidding myself.”

Swail reached the semi-finals of the World Championship in 2000 and 2001, and reached the Welsh Open final in 2009. But after a loss of form he dropped off snooker’s professional tour at the end of the 2011/12 season.

He is one of 32 players battling for the £100,000 top prize in the event at the Bailey Allen Hall at the National University of Ireland in Galway from March 12 to 17.

Swail’s opening match is against Stephen Maguire in the afternoon session of March 12. Also competing for the title will be the likes of Judd Trump, John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Ding Junhui and Irish favourite Ken Doherty.

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