‘They don’t care about Scottish people, do they?’ - Stephen Maguire slams snooker bosses
The Glasgow player slumped to a shock 4-1 defeat against world No 117 Zak Surety in the first round of the Scottish Open and admits life in the bio-secure bubble is becoming a strain.
Because of Covid, the tournament is not being played in Scotland but at Milton Keynes’ Marshall Arena, the venue for recent tournaments, including last week’s UK Championship.
Maguire, ranked 109 places above Surety, is yet to progress past the third round of a ranking event this year and says he has been denied access to hiring an apartment, rather than staying in the event hotel.
He let rip at tournament organisers and admits he regrets taking part after another dismal display on the Buckinghamshire baize.
“They don’t care about Scottish people, do they?” Maguire said. “Let’s be honest, they never have and they never will. We just have to follow those guidelines, travel wherever they say we have to travel, and that’s part of the job.
“They don’t care about Scottish people. There’s too many bigger players in England, or the world, to care about us.
“I knew I shouldn’t have come down. I wasn’t ready to come down and I got what I deserved there.
“I’ve just had enough of the hotel – it’s too much for me. It’s too much to be away locked in a room. I’ve asked but I’m not allowed to stay in an apartment for some reason, whereas other boys are all mixing.
“I’m not allowed to stay away and keep myself safe. Whatever the guidelines are, they’re all messed up, but I got told the tournament’s bigger than me and I’d be withdrawn if I stayed in an apartment. In a way, I wish I did. I might as well have been withdrawn the way I played.
“I’m not saying I’d play better snooker, but I’d be a lot happier. That room, in there, takes a strong mind to stay in there all the time, and I’ve obviously not got that.
“I just can’t wait to go home and relax and get away from this place for a while. It is tough.
“I’ve just had enough. I’ll enjoy Christmas, forget about it, and it’s not a big deal. I’ll come back and refresh next year.”
World Snooker Tour responded by stating they are following the guidelines that players must either stay on the on-site hotel, or at their homes.
Maguire reached the last 32 of the European Masters, Northern Ireland Open and UK Championship – all staged in Milton Keynes – but was downed by underdog Surety, 29, at the first hurdle in the third Home Nations event of the season.
The six-time ranking event winner struck a break of 57 but a solid performance from Surety, capped by a fourth frame 72, dumped the Scot out of his – technically – home tournament in the first round for the second time in three years.
Maguire has been drawn against three-time world champion Mark Selby in the first round of next month’s Masters, which will welcome back 1,000 spectators per session into Alexandra Palace.
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