John Higgins doesn’t often play in the Snooker Shoot Out but found an ideal reason to do so this year – to give his mum something to look forward to.
With the country in lockdown, most activities are on hold but snooker still goes on, with Higgins grateful he can continue to play sport amidst the pandemic.
Crowds may not be allowed in venues but there’s no stopping people watching on from home, with the Scot’s family among those tuning in to this week’s Eurosport coverage.
“I always love watching the event, it’s exciting and you get to see a lot of players you’ve never seen before,” he said.
“This year, you’re seeing more than ever, there’s been a lot of pull-outs. I’ve loved watching it.
“I’m doing it for the likes of my mum as well, they don’t get much of a chance to get out of the house currently so it’s giving them something to look forward to.
“Even it’s just for ten minutes in the night, it’s something for them to look forward to.”
Higgins is making a return to the table having tested positive for COVID-19, though thankfully there were no ill-effects having had to withdraw from the German Masters.
“I came out of isolation on the morning of the match. My wife and children have brought me up my dinner and other bits, I’ve not left the room,” he added.
“I tested positive, but I had no symptoms and my family were all negative, that’s what we’ve got to be thankful for.
“It’s one of those things, there’s no rhyme nor reason to contracting it, it’s the way of the world and a tough battle out there.
“Luckily for me, the symptoms for me weren’t too bad. I don’t do anything back home, I just practice in the house and get the shopping.
“I’ve not done anything differently in the past six or seven months.”
And his return to the event was a winning one, overcoming compatriot Scott Donaldson in the first round.
“I’m just happy to win any game here, it’s a few years since I’ve played in the Shoot Out and the only way I was going to play was if there was no crowd,” he continued.
“It’s hard enough concentrating on the frame, let alone what the crowd are shouting.
“I forgot how quick it is when you’re down on the shot. You want to get down to the last beep to give yourself the most time.
“It’s a lottery for anyone to win here, I’m in the next round and that’s all you can do.”