Feijen – We’ll Have To Adapt To Boisterous Blackpool

Niels Feijen has warned Team EUROPE they must deal with the pressures of playing in front of 1,200 expectant home fans if they are to successfully defend their PartyPoker Mosconi Cup title at the Tower Circus, Blackpool this December 1-4.
The Dutch World 9-ball champion was a member of the 2013 team who surpassed all hopes when they dished out an 11-2 reverse to Team USA in Las Vegas last winter. But a new-look American team has been rejuvenated under the leadership of captain Mark Wilson and Feijen believes a well-balanced visiting squad will only be denied glory if the hosts produce their best form in Blackpool.
Feijen earned his place on Team Europe after topping both the World Ranking list and the list which combined both Euro Tour and World event points. He is joined by Englishman Mark Gray, who topped the Euro Tour rankings, and Greece’s Nick Ekonomopoulos, who takes his place after finishing second to Feijen on the combined list. The remaining two places are wildcard picks to be announced shortly.
Matchroom Sport spoke to Feijen to hear his views on this year’s PartyPoker Mosconi Cup, and the reigning World Pool Masters champion told us he was delighted to make the team.
How pleased are you that you earned your spot in the PartyPoker Mosconi Cup side with a string of great performances over an eight month period?
“I'm very proud to be on the team again. It seems like it's getting tougher each year with the quality of players in Europe, so making it for the tenth time is a great honour. I've worked hard all year so it's a nice reward to be on the team again.”
This will be your tenth PartyPoker Mosconi Cup which puts you fourth on the all-time list. How has the event changed in those 14 years?
“I’ve seen the Scotch doubles come into play and that is a great boost for the event. It's a very exciting feature because the two players have to work with each other to score the point. Sometimes one of the two feels a little weaker and the other has to step it up and carry him a bit more but the next day it could be the other way around.
“I've also seen the amount of fans grow over the years. Last year in Las Vegas was something I've never experienced before when we walked into the pit and 600/700 fans were going mad. Imagine how it will be this year with 1,200 people going crazy!”
How do you rate the American’s chances?
“I feel the Americans have a very balanced and strong team. There are no huge egos to have to deal with, just solid, hungry players. Like every year, we have to produce or they will take it away from us. We have to be ready and when we are they will have their hands quite full.”
How do you rate Europe’s chances?
“I like our chances, but we have to be prepared and focused. If we play our speed, not underestimate anyone and keep our foot on the gas, I think we will come out fine. I'm going to be playing together with Mark [Gray] and Spartacus [Nick Ekonomopoulos] for the second time and in their rookie appearances they were rock solid and great team players. Then we will get another two champions on board so what else can we ask for?”
How about Blackpool? 1,200 people in each of the four days. What sort of pressure will that be?
“It's hard to say. I've never played for 1.200 wild fans. Every player needs to get used to it the first day especially. I hope to settle down fast, focus on the job and execute shots well. The fans will be behind us 100% and they can and will make a huge difference in our favour as the event has proven in the past. My prediction is that the atmosphere will be electric to say the least and I cannot wait!”
The 2014 PARTYPOKER.COM Mosconi Cup is sponsored by PartyPoker.com, the world's leading online poker site. The Official Table of the Mosconi Cup is supplied by Diamond Billiards, the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue and Mosconi Cup clothing is supplied by Universe.
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