UK Championship 2021 – ‘It is not fair’ – Shaun Murphy questions amateur involvement after shock defeat to Si Jiahui

Shaun Murphy says he feels “hard done by” after suffering a shock first round defeat at the UK Championship to an amateur he feels should not be involved in the tournament.

The 2005 world champion was beaten 6-5 by China’s Si Jiahui, a player who was effectively brought in to make up the numbers in the 128-player event.

Murphy was never able to recover from a terrible start, falling 5-1 behind before forcing a deciding frame which he could not take. Losing was not the issue for ‘The Magician’ but being beaten by an amateur was a big problem for him – as he feels there is no space for them in professional events.

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“I am going to sound like a grumpy old man but that young man shouldn’t be in the tournament,” Murphy told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I feel extremely hard done by that I have lost to someone who shouldn’t even be in the building.

I don’t know why we as a sport allow amateurs to compete in professional tournaments. This is our livelihood. This is our living. We are self-employed individuals and not contracted sportsmen. We don’t play for a team.

“The other 127 runners and riders in the tournament, it is their livelihood too. It is wrong, in my opinion, to walk into somebody who is not playing with the same pressures and concerns I am.

“He played like a man who does not have a care in the world, because he does not have a care in the world. It is not fair, it is not right.

“I am not picking on him as a young man, he deserved his victory. Amateurs should not be allowed in professional tournaments, the end.

“This is our livelihood. This is how I put food on the table. This is how I earn money. Since turning professional at 15, I have earned the right to call myself a professional snooker player. He hasn’t done that. He shouldn’t be on the table.”

Si has experience of the main tour but after turning professional in 2019, the 19-year-old fell off the circuit at the end of last season.

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