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Nineball Rankings Update: Niels Feijen On The March

Niels Feijen (Taka Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Niels Feijen’s 11th EuroTour title at the weekend in Austria sees the Dutchman move up to 11th in the Live Nineball World Rankings after a 9-4 win over Francisco Sanchez Ruiz in the final of the St Johan im Pongau Open.

WORLD RANKINGS HERE

The St Johan im Pongau Open was the latest EuroTour tournament on the Nineball World Rankings schedule which also saw Sanchez Ruiz tighten his grip as Nineball World No.3 as Oliver Szolnoki and Dimitri Jungo formed runs to the semi-finals to cement their spots inside the top 32.

UK Open champion Joshua Filler reached the quarter-finals before defeat to Sanchez Ruiz. The Killer’s efforts sees him tighten his grip as World No.2 just under $10,000 behind World No.1 Shane Van Boening after the South Dakota Kid’s World Pool Championship win earlier this year.

2021 World Pool Masters champion Alexander Kazakis continued his good season so far in Austria whilst Mario He and Wiktor Zielinski also made inroads inside the Live Nineball World Ranking Top 10.

Attention now turns to Bulgaria for the EuroTour Petrich Open from August 6-8 ahead of the inaugural European Open Pool Championship at the Hotel Esperanto, Fulda in Germany from August 9-14 with 256 players set to battle it out for a slice of the $200,000 and vital ranking points that could well see them move into Mosconi Cup contention. Tickets start from €15 and are available right here.

The events below are all ranking events. The World Pool Masters, World Cup of Pool, and Mosconi Cup are all non-ranking events

Petrich Open – EuroTour – Petrich, Bulgaria – August 6-8 

European Open – Matchroom – Hotel Esperanto, Fulda, Germany – August 9-14 – Tickets on sale here

Slovenia Open – EuroTour – Slovenia – October 1-3 

Sandcastle 9-Ball Open – NBL – New Jersey – October 6-8

US Open Pool Championship – Matchroom – Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City – October 10-15 – Tickets on sale here 

International Open – Accu-Stats – Virginia, USA – October 30 – 5 November

Mosconi Cup – Matchroom – Bally’s Las Vegas – November 30-3 December – Limited availability

How the Live 2023 Nineball Rankings Impact the 2022 Mosconi Cup Selection Process

The top player from each team from the Live Nineball World Rankings will be selected after the conclusion of the 2022 European Open Pool Championship at Hotel Esperanto Fulda, August 9-14 2022.

A further two players for each team will then be taken off the Live Nineball World Rankings after the conclusion of the 2022 US Open Pool Championship at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City from October 10-15 2022.

Both Team Europe and the USA will then have two wild card picks each as selected by the two respective captains Alex Lely and Jeremy Jones.

Read more on Feijen’s win courtesy of the EPBF

It is 21 years since the Terminator’s maiden Euro Tour win and six years since his last, and this victory was a testimony to Feijen’s endurance as one of pool’s premier players.

Said a delighted Feijen; “It’s a great feeling! I was struggling for a long time on the Euro Tour, not getting any results. It’s not that the level is better, there’s just more really good players now. I love the game but it’s more up and down now than when I was in my 20s and 30s. Sometimes I don’t care and sometimes I really, really want to win and put the effort in like now, and that is super-rewarding when it pays off.”

Feijen had enjoyed some hard-fought wins as he progressed through the tournament, none more so than his come-from-behind 9-8 win over Wiktor Zielinski in the last eight but in Sanchez Ruiz he was facing, arguably the form player in the world currently.

After dropping the opener, Sanchez Ruiz reeled off the next three racks to open up an ominous lead before Feijen ran out from the break after leaving a very makeable table. In the next, they both had visits, trying to force the error from their opponent, before Feijen potted the pink 4 with some style and he cleared to level the match.

Feijen came with a marvellous table length bank to down the 6 in the next and set up a rack-winning opportunity. It was his third rack in a row and put him into a 4-3 lead. That became 5-3 after Feijen ran a difficult table following an illegal break from Sanchez Ruiz.

The unstoppable Dutchman took the next before a magical 3/9 kicked combo increased Feijen’s lead to 7-3 and his reaction showed just how much he enjoyed that one. Sanchez Ruiz wasn’t done and a low percentage 1/9 combination table-length jump shot was executed magnificently.

However, it was the Spaniard’s last positive contribution as an unlucky scratch in the next gave Feijen ball in hand and he ran the table to put himself on the hill. With the break, Feijen delivered a solid one and was able to run out for a marvellous win.

Feijen added, “It’s down to a bit more commitment, and more hard work. I haven’t been really, really motivated these past four or five years. Then Corona came, I started some different projects so I’m extremely busy when I’m home. I felt I was playing really good the last couple of Euro Tours. I was breaking better, I won at the Europeans so that was a boost. Me and Marc (Bijsterbosch) played pretty well at the World Cup, I played good at the UK Open so I felt I was gaining some momentum and the more I play, the better I play; that’s a fact.

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Pin-Yi goes undefeated, downs Zielinski in finals of 256-entrant Predator Bucharest Open

Ko Pin-Yi (IDM Pool Tour)

Zielinski takes top prize in 16-entrant Kamui Invitational

Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski has been on something of a roll over the past couple of months, and we all know how important ‘rolls’ are in any billiards game you care to name. He defeated the male half of the Killer Fillers (Joshua) in the finals of the Dynamic Billiard Lasko Open in February and then came across the ocean to down Aloysius Yapp in the finals of CSI’s Alfa Las Vegas Open in March. Last weekend (May 13-15), chalking up his flight miles, he headed back east and landed in Bucharest, Romania, where he claimed the 16-entrant, single-elimination Kamui Invitational title, defeating Boznia-Herzegovina’s Sanjin Pehlivanovic in the finals.

He also appeared in the finals of the concurrently-run, 256-entrant Predator Bucharest Open, but had his winning streak stopped by Taipei’s Ko Pin-Yi, who went undefeated through four rounds of double elimination and five rounds of single elimination play to snatch what would have been Zielinski’s third straight title from him in the finals. Though he’d been cashing in major tournaments all over the world (also on something of a roll and also chalking up his flight miles), it was Pin-Yi’s first recorded major victory since he laid claim to the 2018 China Open Men’s Division title.

Both events were hosted by the 20-year-old IDM Club in downtown Bucharest, about a mile or so east of the Dambovita river, which flows through the city for about 13 miles and is its main water supply. The IDM is a multi-functional sports club that offers members everything from fitness, body-building, swimming pools (a children’s leisure and a “semi-Olympic”), locker rooms, bowling, billiards, snooker, table tennis, darts and a restaurant, bar and children’s playground. US venues, take note.

Each of the 42 Brunswick Gold Crown IV pool tables in the IDM club was employed six times (+4) to get through the event’s opening round. Pin-Yi got through his opening rounds against Levent Kurtulus, Adi Petruscu and Michal Olech with an aggregate score of 27-4 to arrive at the winners’ side qualification round for single-elimination play against David Alcaide. Zielinski, in the meantime, found himself battling increased challenges. He allowed his first opponent, Albert Gabos, only a single rack but gave up six to Maor Shalom, before getting caught up in a double hill battle against Kevin Lannoye, which did eventually send him to the qualifying round versus Mustafa Alnar.

Among those also advancing to the qualifying round on the winners’ side were Shane Van Boening, Oliver Szolnoki, Denis Grabe, Thorsten Hohmann, Alex Kazakis, Mario He and Ko Pinc-Chung (who played each other), and Ralf Souquet and Nick Economopolous (who also played each other). There were 16 who advanced on the winners’ side to be among the 32 who would compete in the first single-elimination round. They were joined by the final 16 on the losers’ side of the bracket.

Two rounds later, the field was down to 8 in the quarterfinals. Ko Pin-Yi faced Souquet, who’d won his only loss-side match and come back to defeat Ko Ping-Chung. Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz faced Dimitri Jungo, Zielinski drew Petri Makkonen and Van Boening took on Mario He.

Ko Pin-Yi got by Souquet and Sanchez-Ruiz downed Jungo, both 11-3. Zielinski eliminated Makkonen 11-8 and Van Boening defeated He 11-9. In the semifinals that followed, Ko Pin-Yi defeated Ruiz 11-7, as Van Boening and Zielinski locked up in only the fourth double hill fight since the opening round of single-elimination play, with Van Boening involved in two of them. Zielinski advanced to face Ko Pin-Yi in the finals. 

Pin-Yi had come to the finals with a 70% game-winning average (79-34). He won 72% of the games he played in the race-to-13 finals against Zielinski, claiming the Predator Bucharest Open title 13-5.

Two out of four matches for Zielinski go double hill in Kamui Invitational

The Kamui Invitational, which required less than 20% of the 42 Brunswick Gold Crown IV’s in the IDM Club, once, to complete its 15-entrant opening round, featured 12 competitors who participated in the open event, Zielinski, Van Boening and David Alcaide among them. Ko Pin-Yi, however, was not on the roster.

Zielinski got by his opening opponent, Davy Piergiovanni well enough, but ran immediately into a double hill match against Naoyuki Oi in the quarterfinals. From the bottom half of the bracket, Zielinski’s eventual opponent in the finals, Sanjin Pehlivanovic, who’d gotten by Alex Montpelier, drew Alex Lely. Ralf Souquet, who’d drawn a bye in the opener, faced Ko Ping-Chung, while Van Boening and Alcaide rounded out the quarterfinal matchups.

Zielinski survived his double hill encounter with Oi and in the semifinals, drew Souquet, who’d eliminated Ping-Chung 8-3. Van Boening defeated Alcaide 8-4 to pick up Pehlivanovic, who’d shut Lely out.

Zielenski walked right into his second straight double hill match, against Souquet, but did advance to the finals. Pehlivanovic dropped Van Boening 8-5 to join him. Zielenski defeated Pehlivanovic 8-5 to claim the Kamui Invitational title and his third victory in as many months.

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2022 Mosconi Cup Captains: Jones Vs Lely

Jeremy Jones and Alex Lely

Jeremy Jones and Alex Lely will return as captains for Team USA and Team Europe respectively at the 2022 Mosconi Cup, Bally’s Las Vegas from November 30-3 December with only limited tickets available for fans to soak in the action at pool’s biggest event.

LIMITED TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE | BOOK YOUR EXCLUSIVE BALLY’S HOTEL ROOM RATE HERE

Jones returns to lead the United States for the first time on home soil after leading the side for the last two years in Europe as he guns to return the trophy to American hands for the first time since 2019 in Las Vegas.

Europe’s two-time winning captain Lely will return for a third stint as chief as he looks to seal a three-peat and a first victory in the USA since 2017 when Europe ran out 11-4 victors.

The USA put up a spirited display last year with Jones having to step up to playing captain after losing Earl Strickland just 24 hours before the action got underway and will be seeking to take inspiration from their showing last year, in Las Vegas this time around.

Jones is fired up more than ever to deliver success for the home fans: “I am grateful. I wanted this opportunity again to put the last two years to bed and show what the USA is all about. I can’t freakin’ wait to get revenge on Europe in front of a home crowd. I want to give them something to cheer about.”

“Fans, be prepared. We’re red, white, and blue all the way through and we will deliver a year to remember for the USA and most importantly Lely. This will be the best Mosconi Cup ever.”

Lely led his side to a dramatic turnaround after a slow opening two days in 2021 to seal an 11-6 win at Alexandra Palace with Jayson Shaw starring as MVP for the second year in a row.

The Dutchman is aware this year will be a much sterner challenge though: “It feels great. I am honoured and I am looking forward to going to the USA. I am happy, I get the chance to defend the cup in Las Vegas. I will fight for it more than ever before. The atmosphere will be intimidating, and my players must react to it. In 2019, it was the first time the fans got into the European player’s faces.”


“I know how much the USA want to take the Mosconi Cup trophy back. I’m not willing to let them get their hands on it. We have so much more to give, and we will silence the USA crowd.”

After record sales, there are only limited seats now available to watch the teams compete live. The new theatre-style arena will be created at Bally’s Las Vegas to accommodate the biggest seating capacity staged for a Pool event in the USA, catering for 2,000 supporters travelling from far and wide to catch a glimpse of the action. Remaining tickets start from $69 right here.

News on both sides Vice-Captains will come soon.

Selection Process

For the first time, the Live Nineball World Rankings will come into play, with three players from each side who will qualify on order of merit from the Nineball World Rankings. The Live (2023) Nineball World Rankings are updated after every event recognised by the Nineball World Rankings Schedule this year and still poised to grow further. The final two players from each side will be wild cards.

The Cutoff

The top two players from each team off the Live (2023) Nineball World Rankings will be selected after the conclusion of the 2022 US Open Pool Championship at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City October 10-15.

The final three players from each team will be picked after the conclusion of the European Open Pool Championship from November 15-20 with one further player from each side joining from the Live (2023) Nineball World Rankings followed up by two wild card picks.

______________________________________________________

The 2022 Mosconi Cup returns stateside for the first time since 2019 when the USA secured a famous 11-8 victory over their European counterparts, and they will be looking for a similar scoreline come this fall at Bally’s after back-to-back defeats in 2020 and 2021.

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Day One Mosconi Cup Lineups Announced At Pre Event Press Conference

All of the players are in Coventry and the last of the pre event festivities are complete for the Mosconi Cup XXVII. Monday was the pre-event press conference with Team USA and Team Europe taking questions from Matchroom Sports’ Emily Frazer, as well as the billiards media. 

While both teams appeared to be loose and enjoying themselves with the casual atmosphere of the press conference, the air was occasionally cut with a sharp remark aimed at one team or the other. When asked about differences between this year’s and last year’s European team captains, Euro Vice Captain Karl Boyes commented that this year would be a “seven on seven” event instead of “seven on five” like in the past. 

Team Europe’s Joshua Filler, who was one of the most boisterous players last year, sounded like he was ready to go again this year. When asked about any possible “rivalry” brewing between he and Team USA’s Shane Van Boening, Filler brushed off the question and explained that he felt he was the “only player” in that conversation. 

Another longtime vocal European, “Eagle Eye” Jayson Shaw, was uncharacteristically serious this year. He was all business and refused to discuss any earlier Facebook comments that he made about the other team. One of Shaw’s few comments was that he was “Laying it on the line this week” and that he was ready. 

While Shaw sounded more serious than normal, Team USA’s Shane Van Boening might actually sound more relaxed. He commented that it had been a “rough nine years” when Team Europe dominated this event, but that the last couple of years is the most confident he has been, going into this event. 

When asked what he had been working on to prepare for the start of play on Tuesday, Team Europe’s Eklent Kaci commented on their lack of experience playing doubles and said they had mostly worked on communication between the players. His teammate, World Champion Fedor Gorst, didn’t seem as concerned with communication, commenting that they were all champions. 

The lineups for Day One were announced during the press conference and all of the players now know who they will be competing against on Tuesday. The lineup is…

Match One: Team Europe vs Team USA

Match Two: Joshua Filler & Fedor Gorst vs Shane Van Boening & Corey Deuel

Match Three: Eklent Kaci vs Chris Robinson

Match Four: Albin Ouschan & Jayson Shaw vs Billy Thorpe & Skyler Woodward

Match Five: Albin Ouschan vs Shane Van Boening

When asked about his choice to have Van Boening and Deuel playing the first doubles match together, Team USA Captain Jeremy Jones explained that he was looking for “Experience going in early”. Team Europe Captain Alex Lely was asked about his thoughts putting event rookie Fedor Gorst into the lineup so early and he explained that he felt he could put Gorst anywhere in the lineup as all of his players were ready to play. 

The event kicks off on Tuesday at 1:30PM EST and can be watched live on Sky Sports in the UK and on Dazn in the USA and most of Europe. 

Predator Live Training Day To Bring Fans Unique Insight Ahead Of Partypoker Mosconi Cup

Matchroom Multi Sport, in partnership with Predator Cues, will bring pool fans a unique insight into partypoker Mosconi Cup preparations this year with the Predator Live Training Day, a two-hour live stream event on Sunday, November 29.

Live from inside the event bubble at Ricoh Arena, Coventry from 6pm UK time (1pm Eastern), the Predator Live Training Day will see both teams take to the table for one hour each as they are put through their paces by their captains.

From 6pm, Alex Lely and Karl Boyes will lead a specially constructed Team Europe practice session, designed for live stream enjoyment, as the Captains put the final touches to their team ahead of next Tuesday’s partypoker Mosconi Cup. Viewers will also hear from all five players plus the Captain and Vice-Captain.

From 7pm (2pm Eastern), Team USA will take over with Jeremy Jones and Joey Gray leading the defending champions in one of their final practice sessions before the Cup begins.

Fans will be able to watch live on Matchroom Pool’s YouTube Channel, as well as on Matchroom Pool and Predator Facebook pages.

Emily Frazer, Managing Director of Matchroom Multi Sport, said: “With a few changes to the partypoker Mosconi Cup this year as well as usual pre-event activities, together with our friends at Predator we have decided to give fans a more backstage feel and allow a further insight to the players’ team training. With the entire year gearing up and all pool fans anticipating what outcome the Mosconi Cup will bring, it is a rare treat to give viewers a sneak preview into the training camp.

“Viewers will be able to catch both Team Europe and Team USA in action just two days ahead of the event; with this being the first time both teams are in presence of one another – it may just show who really is the favourite. See exclusive live interviews with the teams, their training equipment, strategy, and team mindset.

“Despite a lot of change this year, we are pushing to keep team spirit high and this training day will re-ignite the fire amongst the teams as well as fans at home to what will be a memorable partypoker Mosconi Cup. With the support of our partners at Predator, viewers will be able to tune in via both Matchroom Pool and Predator social media pages and receive exclusive content.”

Karim Belhaj, CEO of Predator Group, added: “We are thrilled to see our long-time partner Matchroom Multi Sport bring the Mosconi Cup to pool fans this year. The livestream sneak peak into the training of the teams is one of many innovative ideas that will surely please pool fans! We can’t wait to follow the event and see which team will bring the trophy home this year!”

Predator Live Training Day will commence at 6pm (UK time) on Sunday, November 29. The 2020 partypoker Mosconi Cup press conference will be live streamed on Matchroom Pool YouTube and Facebook pages from 7pm (UK time) on Monday, November 30.

The 2020 partypoker Mosconi Cup begins at 6:30pm (UK time) on Tuesday, December 1. The event will be broadcast live in full on Sky Sports in the UK, DAZN in America, Germany, Austria and all over DAZN territories. Full broadcast details can be found at MatchroomPool.com.

Follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram. For all the latest event news please visit www.mosconicup.com.

Ouschan Returns To Partypoker Mosconi Cup For Team Europe

Albin Ouschan has joined Team Europe for this December’s partypoker Mosconi Cup after being selected by captain Alex Lely as the fourth player to join the line-up.

The 30-year-old Austrian will be making his fourth appearance at the event and holds an individual record bettered only by Vice Captain Karl Boyes for matches won by players with more than one appearance.

Ouschan, a former World Champion and two-time World Cup of Pool winner. Was exceptional for Europe in their 2018 defeat to USA but missed out on selection last year. However, he returns this time around alongside Fedor Gorst, Jayson Shaw and Joshua Filler with one player still to be selected.

“It is an incredible feeling to be back on the team,” said Ouschan. “It is one of the nicest things when you get a call from the captain to say that you are in. This year has been tough, but I knew I probably had a better chance if there were four or five wildcards.

“It will for sure be one of the youngest European teams we have had, but if you look at the names, I think it is the strongest we have had. We have very big shooters. With Jayson and Joshua we have two incredible left-handed players and Joshua for me is the most talented player we have right now. Fedor is probably as calm as me at the table, so it is fire, fire and twice ice.”

Captain Lely added: “He looked so good two years ago and it was just for one jump shot from Skyler Woodward that he would have become MVP and would have played a decisive role for Team Europe.

“For me, he, maybe more than any other, has looked very comfortable, calm and collected in the Matchroom arena, tournament after tournament, especially in doubles play. He brings a lot of calmness to the table and we have a couple of players with Filler and Shaw who bring a lot of fire, so this allows us to combine fire with ice.

“This choice was an easy one; it is difficult to leave Albin out of the team. But the last choice is going to be hard, because that means that I am going to be leaving out one player who I would like to be in.”

Lely will name his fifth and final player in two weeks’ time. USA Captain Jeremy Jones will announce his fourth player next week.

The 2020 partypoker Mosconi Cup is set to take place at Alexandra Palace, London from December 1-4, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.

Matchroom Pool are still hopeful and determined that the partypoker Mosconi Cup will take place this year and are in constant detailed discussions with the relevant organisations and personnel to stay up to date. Our highest priority is the safety of everyone connected with the event however we are working hard to explore every avenue to making this work and will continue to do so, if it is possible.

Follow Matchroom Pool on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. For all the latest event news please visit www.mosconicup.com.

Filler Selected For Team Europe

Joshua Filler will make his third appearance for Team Europe at the 2020 partypoker Mosconi Cup, having been selected as captain Alex Lely’s second wildcard.

Filler became the youngest ever partypoker Mosconi Cup winner aged 19 in 2017 and took home the MVP title in his rookie appearance that year. He returned to the team in Las Vegas last year but, despite an impressive individual showing, was on the losing team as USA defended their title.

However, the 2018 World Champion and reigning US Open Champion is determined to help Europe bring home the Cup this year. He joins Fedor Gorst and Jayson Shaw on the team, with two further captain’s wildcard picks to be announced next month

“It is amazing, just from thinking about it I have goosebumps everywhere,” said Filler of his selection. “I am so glad that Alex picked me and I am back on the team.

“When I reflect on last year, I think in the singles we did pretty well but in the doubles we messed up. I think we have to practice on the doubles and if we can fix that, we will be the favourites again.

“When I played Shane van Boening, it was amazing. He missed easy balls and I took my chances and I beat him twice; 5-0 and 5-1. They were big moments for me and that was the big highlight from last year’s Cup.

“When I lost to Skyler, he played amazing and didn’t make any mistakes. I was crying in the arena, because I was so disappointed to lose. But I am so happy to be back and helping the team out and I hope we can get the Cup back.

“We have lost the last two years now. It is a dream for a European player to be on the team and winning with all of the people there.”

Captain Lely added: “He has energy, confidence, charisma and a no-miss attitude. As far as I am concerned, it would be very difficult to imagine a Mosconi Cup team without this guy.

“Joshua wears his heart on his sleeve. He is a bundle of energy and he brings the game to his opponent and in this case, to Team USA. He is 22-years-young, he is so smart and has already gained so much knowledge from his previous two Mosconi Cups, and we are more than happy to have him on board.”

The 2020 partypoker Mosconi Cup is set to take place at Alexandra Palace, London from December 1-4, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.

Matchroom Pool are still hopeful and determined that the partypoker Mosconi Cup will take place this year and are in constant detailed discussions with the relevant organisations and personnel to stay up to date. Our highest priority is the safety of everyone connected with the event however we are working hard to explore every avenue to making this work and will continue to do so, if it is possible.

Follow Matchroom Pool on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. For all the latest event news please visit www.mosconicup.com.

Imran Majid Player Interview

Imran Majid with a couple fans

With the lack of events to report on at the moment, we are teaming with the Supr Charged Agency to feature interviews with various European and American players. Hopefully this will give all of the readers a chance to get to know these players better. 
 
This time, we have The Maharaja, Imran Majid.
 
Name (and nickname): Imran Majid (The Maharaja)
The Maharaja means Indian king. A lot of people say I am the best Indian player in the world!!
Age: 47
City: London, UK
 
When did you get your start playing pool?
I started playing snooker first at the age of 13. I have five 147 breaks and I have beaten Stephen Hendry and Mark Williams in tournament play.
 
Who was your inspiration/idol when you were young?
Stephen Hendry was my idol when I was young.
 
Why Stephen Hendry?
Hendry took the game to the next level and invented 'one visit' snooker. He used to kill off a frame in one visit more regularly than anyone else! He also had a great temperament and his technique was outstanding!
 
Who do you admire amongst today's players?
I admire Alex Pagulayan because he is an all rounder, very good at all games.
 
Who is the next big thing in pool today?
In pool today, I think the next big thing is Joshua Filler. Well, he is already big.
 
What are your greatest accomplishments?
My greatest accomplishments are firstly making the Mosconi cup team,  and then winning the World Team Championships and then winning a couple of Eurotour stops.
 
How big was it to get picked for the Mosconi Cup team?
It was massive for me to be selected for the Mosconi cup. I was ranked number 2 in Europe at the time. That's why I was selected. It's the biggest stage in the world of pool so I was over the moon to be selected.
 
Tell us about the experience of playing it.
The experience was to be honest quite unexplainable. I was playing for my continent and also my self dignity and pride. I wanted to test myself on the big stage and I passed the test with flying colours. I was under pressure a lot and was shaking but I handled the pressure very well. I beat Johnny Archer 7-2 in my singles and beat Earl Strickland and Rodney Morris in the doubles with my partner Nik Van den Berg. Strickland and Morris were undefeated in 6 Mosconi doubles matches previous to this, so it was extra sweet! 
 
How often did you practice at an early age and how often now?
When I was younger I used  to practice nearly everyday for 5 to 6 hours. These days I don't practice as much because I simply don't have the same energy as before. I practice maybe 4 times a week these days but I do a lot of coaching which keeps me in touch with the game. My memory gets refreshed a lot when I'm teaching so it's a good thing!
 
Do you use drills when you practice?
I don't do too many drills. I prefer playing people or playing the ghost. I have beaten all the ghosts from 9-ball up to 15-ball. It took me 7 months to beat the 15-ball ghost so I was very happy to beat it. I play snooker once a week as well, which keeps me in good stroke! Before a big tournament though, I will do some standard drills and practice the break a lot.
 
What should newcomers practice most?
Newcomers need to play a lot more big tournaments…throw themselves in the deep end. That's how they will improve and gain experience quickly. 
 
 What are newcomers doing wrong?
Some very good players lose matches because their break is weak!
 
What should advanced players practice most?
Advanced players should practice the break shot more as it is the most important shot in the game! 
 
What is the strongest part of your game?
I don’t really have too many strengths or weaknesses. I am pretty good all round.
 
What is the weakest part of your game?
Maybe I could improve my kicking skills a little.
 
Is fitness important for pool players?
Yes, I think fitness is very important in all sports. I have been to the latter end of many big tournaments, for example the US Open and World Championships, but I think my fitness level hurt me because I seemed to lose energy! I think it's unfortunate for my pool career that my wife is a great cook and makes an awesome chicken curry…lol!
 
What is your favorite game?
My favourite game is 10-ball and I also love one pocket but it's unfortunate not too many people play it in Europe. 
 
What are the 3 most important factors in a players game?
I believe that the 3 most important factors in pool are:
 
Self control first. Self control is 10 times more important than cue ball control!
 
Discipline – If you are playing pool at a high level you should treat it as a profession and do the right things on and off the table!
 
Self belief- You won't get anywhere if you don’t believe in yourself!
 
 Who has the best stroke in pool today?
I think Joshua Filler has the best stroke in pool today. He can generate a lot of power effortlessly. He is a total natural talent and I believe he will dominate for many years to come!
 
How is your mental strength?
My mental fitness is quite good. Darren Appleton once told me I have very good composure, maybe one of the best in the world! I do work a lot on my mental game and also teach it a lot. I'm not scared to play anyone and don't get phased in pressure situations!
 
Do you have any advice/tricks for players?
Advice/tricks I can give is to follow your dreams and goals … don’t let anything get in the way!
Before a big match or tournament dont think about pool. Do something different like listen to music, watch a film or simply hang out with friends. Save your mental energy for the pool match ahead!
 
How important is the equipment?
I don't think equipment is that important. A good player can play with anything to a certain extent. For example, I saw Joshua filler win the China Open with a carbon fibre shaft, then after the tournament literally threw it in the bin. He then changed back to wood and won a couple of more major events!
 
Do you use TAOM because they are a sponsor, or because you like their products?
I use Taom products because they are extremely good. I especially like the new Fusion tips and the pyro chalk is a good combination with it.
 
What in your opinion is required to be a good ambassador/sponsored player?
A good ambassador for any company should promote the brand to their full potential. Advertising logos for any brand is massive so a sponsored player should always make sure the logos are intact when playing. Feedback about equipment is very important to any company, so keep them up to date with feedback…but truthful feedback. If you don’t like a product for some reason, you should tell the sponsors and maybe they can engineer the product to improve it.
 
What should the billiard industry do to get more recognition outside the industry? 
I think the billiard industry should raise the profile of the game to attract external sponsors. Things like players wearing waistcoats and bow ties…also WWF style introductions to matches can all make pool more appealing to companies outside the industry. Maybe have a speed gun on the break as well, it all adds to great viewing for audiences!
 
Thoughts on Matchroom and their efforts to make pool great?
Matchroom are a blessing for the pool industry. They have put some second tier sports such as darts and poker on the map! They are the best sports promotion company in the business and we should work with them to make pool great! They are increasing prize money so it can only help players and the industry.
 
 
You do a lot of commentary, do you enjoy it?
Yes I do a lot of commentary, mainly for the Eurotour and some World Championships.
I enjoy it a lot and people give me good reviews about my commentary because I have the technical knowledge and can spice it up as well!
It also helps me to read the tv table to see how it is breaking, etc.
I can also promote my sponsors while commentating which goes out to a massive audience reach. That is good for my sponsors!
Recently, I have taken on a new commentating venture which is in the Oslo billiard centre in Norway. I commentate on the one and only Bragging Rights Challenge…lol!!
So yes, it’s a lot of fun and I enjoy it…I may be working with Kozoom in the near future.
 
 
Tell us about your 2019 goals and results
My 2019 season wasn't that great…had some personal problems. My only real notable result was 9th place at the US Open where I beat some great players en route. 
My goal is to win a major event, which I am still trying for. Perseverance is the key and I will continue to pursue my goals,  and I will succeed!!!
 
Was getting picked for 2019 Mosconi Cup a goal?
Yes, being selected for the Mosconi Cup was one of my goals! Not just a goal, but the ultimate goal!
 
Your thoughts on the outcome of Mosconi Cup 2019?
I feel that Team EUROPE missed a trick in 2019 with their team selection, especially for the doubles. There was a loophole with the fans choice and Johan spotted it and took full advantage. I think Alex Lely will do a great job now for team Europe and I predict they will win this time in 2020
 
You play lots of events in Europe these days.
What's the main differences between events in Europe and the US?
I feel that events in Europe have more strength in depth. For example, there are probably about 75/100 players that could win a Eurotour event, but a similar tournament in the USA could only have 10 possible winners. Players in Europe are willing to travel abroad a lot more to play tournaments so they will gain experience quicker…i think this is the underlying factor!
 
Goals for 2020
My goal for this year will remain the same to try and win a major, but with the current virus situation it looks like a lot of events will be postponed!
This is a bit heart breaking, because I have put in a lot of practice recently!
 
Who will win these majors this year? 
 
– World Cup of Pool
I think Austria will win the Cup again…they are built for this particular tournament!
 
– US Open
I will win the US Open this year!….gotta be positive right?
 
– 9-ball WC
The WC is open to maybe 100 players to win. If I had to guess, maybe it's Svb's time!

Matchroom Pool Launches World Rankings

Matchroom Pool has today launched its own World Rankings as well as Team EUROPE and Team USA rankings for the partypoker Mosconi Cup.
 
The Matchroom Pool World Rankings consist of major events from around the globe, while the separate European and USA Team rankings include all World Ranking events as well as additional events from across Europe and USA respectively.
 
For Team Europe, the top three players on the European Ranking will automatically qualify for Alex Lely’s team. On the American Ranking, the top two players will join Jeremy Jones’ roster for their title defence in London this December.
 
World Rankings
The Matchroom Pool World Rankings are split into six tiers based on a number of factors including total prize money, added money and tournament format. The Matchroom Pool World Rankings will be used as guidance when inviting players for World Cup of Pool and World Pool Masters, and as one of the rankings to determine seedings for the US Open 9-Ball from 2021.
 
A full list of events and the rankings so far can be found here: http://www.matchroompool.com/world-rankings/
 
A points breakdown of points awarded per event can be downloaded here: http://www.matchroompool.com/wp-content/uploads/Matchroom-Pool-World-Ranking-Points-allocation.pdf
 
Team Europe Rankings
Unlike previous years, there will only be one European ranking list. This is a combination of the World Ranking events and smaller events played in Europe, including all Euro Tour events. The rankings have been restricted to include six tiers, however no event receives fewer points than previously.
 
A full list of events and the rankings so far can be found here: http://www.matchroompool.com/mosconi-cup/#teamEurope
 
Team USA Rankings
As with the European Ranking, this is a combination of the World Ranking events and smaller events played across America. A list of American events will be published in due course.
 
Emily Frazer, Matchroom Multi Sport COO, said: “Global expansion of professional pool is our aim at Matchroom Pool and launching our own World Rankings is a key part of us achieving our vision. Owning five of the majors within the sport allows us to push pool to boundaries it has never seen before. Standard of play is strengthening, and younger, motivated players are travelling and now on the scene, however there is not many a player out there earning a real decent wage from the amount of events on the current circuit.
 
“Introducing rankings firstly gives players the opportunity to rightly earn their place in our own events on merit, encouraging more players to travel to various events. Secondly, we are focused on our tiered system ensuring that organisers and promoters are adding the maximum prize money, as well as motivating others to get involved and introduce new tournaments. Points have not always been rewarded appropriately according to added money or level of organisation and or production.
 
“This is a work-in-progress but we are confident we have a firm base structure to start with. It is time for us all to improve the level of our pool events and give our professional athletes a realistic chance to earn a career and for us in turn to build this fantastic sport.”
 
Any promoter wishing their event to be considered as a Matchroom Pool ranking event should contact pool@matchroom.com.

Lely to Captain Team Europe

Alex Lely

Alex Lely has been appointed as the new captain of Team EUROPE at the partypoker Mosconi Cup, with Karl Boyes as his vice-captain. Europe will be looking to regain the Cup at Alexandra Palace, London this December 1st-4th after suffering back-to-back defeats against USA.

Dutchman Lely returns to the helm having been European captain in 2008 and 2009. In his first Cup as captain he led Europe to an 11-5 victory in Malta before losing 11-7 to USA the following year.

“It is very exciting,” said Lely of his appointment. “It has been ten years since I was last the captain and that is a long time in the context of the Mosconi Cup. It has grown to be so big in that time and it is getting better every year. With USA winning it the last two years, the Mosconi Cup has sparks once again.

“We have a big pool of talent in Europe. We have two wildcards so together with Karl Boyes we will need to make the right choices to compliment the three players who qualify through the rankings. There will be a list of usual suspects and new contenders we have to consider. One new contender to consider would have to be Fedor Gorst, who came really close to making the team last year and is now World Champion.

“We need to get our act together. It is not just about making the balls, it is about acting as a team and it will be very important for the team to gel. Communication will be very important between the coaches and the players, and amongst players themselves. Playing at home, we want to bring it home.

“The past ten years, I have been coaching a lot, working with top players, and commentating a lot. So I have been very close to the Mosconi Cup and elite pool and I have learned a lot. I think ten years ago I was pretty green, a bit of a rookie. I wasn’t as experienced as a coach as I am now.

“Karl and I can complement each other very well. Boyes is boy-ish and can bring something to the team that I probably couldn’t. But he is very insightful; it isn’t just banter. He is very experienced in the Mosconi Cup and I am very happy to have him in my corner.”

Boyes is a four-time partypoker Mosconi Cup winner with Europe and since putting down his cue has become one of pool’s leading pundits.

“The campaign paid off,” said Boyes, who had been using social media to gather support for his bid for a role in the European setup. “It will be great to work alongside Alex, who has experience of the captaincy role and is a top coach and commentator. Alex is a very knowledgeable guy and I think we will gel very well together.

“The last couple of years I’ve seen a few things which we can improve on. I think the doubles needs to be worked on more where certain points have been lost because maybe the pairings haven’t been quite right. Certainly, last year Johan worked the schedule well and Shane Van Boening and Skyler Woodward played more times than say, Joshua Filler and Jayson Shaw.”

Lely takes the reigns as European captain from Marcus Chamat, who led the team from 2015 until 2019, lifting the cup three times. Matchroom Pool would like to thank Marcus for his hard work during his time as European captain.

A full list of the 2020 Team Europe qualifying events will be published later this month.
Tickets for the 2020 partypoker Mosconi Cup are on sale now at www.mosconicup.com. Tickets are priced at £25, £40 and £60 per day with Platinum VIP packages from £170 per day. Season tickets for all four days start at £90 with the Platinum VIP season ticket priced £600. Platinum VIP includes seating in the front three rows, a two-course buffet dinner, mid-session hot-food bowl, unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks from 6:30pm-10:30pm and much more.

The 2020 partypoker Mosconi Cup is partnered by Rasson Billiards who supplies the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and Saluc is the Official Ball Provider. Predator is the Official Cue of the event, Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip and Ultimate Team Gear provide all partypoker Mosconi Cup apparel.

Follow the partypoker Mosconi Cup on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. For all the latest event news please visit www.mosconicup.com.