Souquet Claims Every Matchroom Trophy for 2011

For the first time ever someone has completed a clean sweep of Matchroom Sport's three events! Any one of the three tournaments is no mean feat but if any player was on the cards to complete the ‘grand slam' it would have to be Ralf. A double header in Manila in September, followed by the Mosconi Cup at the end of the year boosted Ralf's bank account considerably but more importantly it bolstered his credentials as possibly the greatest tournament player of the modern era. Epic stuff!

-Luke Riches, Matchroom Sport.

AZBilliards also found this feat to be epic stuff. So we sat down with Ralf at Turning Stone and had a few words with him about the sweep.

AZB: Ralf, you have just returned from winning the Mosconi Cup. That must be quite a thrill for you.

Souquet: Yes, of course. Representing your country and continent  is always a big thing. And defending our title from last year made it even sweeter. I really could not be more happy than I am right now. It capped off a very nice year for me.

AZB: Europe has captured four of the last five Cups. It seems that they are now determined to dominate the Cup the way that Team America did in the first decade of the event.

Souquet: Well, we still have some catching up to do. America is still leading in total wins. In the first years I won't say that America always had the best team but they always got the better end of it with a few exceptions here and there. In the past six or seven years the European pool scene has just gotten so much stronger. You can probably come up with four or five teams that would be capable of beating any other team on the planet. It is hard enough to just make the team now.

AZB: One of the things that really makes this year stand out for you is that you have hoisted every trophy that Matchroom Sport has on offer. No player has ever done that before. You won the World Pool Masters, the World Cup of Pool with your partner Thorsten Hohmann and now the Mosconi Cup to complete the sweep. Did you notice?

Souquet: Yes, of course. Even though I did not think about it beforehand, but as soon as it happened it did not take long for me to realize that I had won all three of the Matchroom events.

AZB: Did you have any struggles along the way? The World Pool Masters, for instance, did that come easily or did you have some close calls there?

Souquet: No, it certainly was not easy. I had always close matches. I had two hill-hill matches, one of them with Mika, and then had to get past Darren Appleton in the semi-finals and Dennis Orcullo in the finals. So there was nothing easy about that event for me.

AZB: Did you like returning to the 16-player field in that event?

Souquet: Yes, definitely. Just having the one table and only the top players in the world there just makes it so special. The year they went to 64 players it just did not seem like a World Pool Masters.

AZB: And the World Cup of Pool?

Souquet: Well, I partnered there with Thorsten Hohmann. You really can't ask for a better partner than that and we basically dominated that event except for the match against Korea where we were down 6-1 or 6-2 and we took a break and talked about it and we knew we had not done much wrong, that they had just played very well against us. So we stuck it out, turned the tide around and won the match.

AZB: And the finals?

Souquet: We were surprised to be facing the team from Thailand in the finals. But they had earned their spot there, taking out some very tough teams along the way. It went very smooth for us int he finals. We won 11-5 and led the whole way. We had a great event. We beat Bustamante and Reyes 9-1 and that was symbolic of the event for us.

AZB: All of the success that Souquet enjoys comes at a severe price. He has only slept at home less than three months this year. And he had to endure airline food for over 200,000 miles, mostly flown in coach. There is a lot more to being a billiard champion than just shooting well. The international requirements are mentally and physically demanding and not many are willing to meet the demands of all that travel.