This is the first of many exclusive interviews with some of the players entering this year's World Snooker Q School and bidding to get a place on the professional tour next season. Today we speak to an up and coming pro from East London; Sean "The Storm" O'Sullivan!
Sean "The Storm" O'Sullivan is just one of the 124 players entering the Q School this year (more details here). But he hopes that at the age of 17 he is finally ready to make the step up and join the big boys on the professional tour next season. He was also one of 8 players that made it through to the Ronnie O'Sullivan future stars final in Sheffield last year and would one day like to join his namesake and lift the games biggest prize.
You can follow Sean's progress on the run up to the Q School and beyond on his Twitter account @SeanTheStorm147
The nickname "The Storm" came from my coach Gary Filtness who randomly came up with it and it's seems like the perfect nickname for me and has stuck ever since.
What first got you into playing Snooker?
I first got into snooker through 8 ball pool because my parents used to run a pub in east London and from the the of about 2 or 3 I would be kneeling on a stool to play shots and I loved it!. I then got chosen to play pool for London under 18s at the age of 8. And a year or so later my dad asked me if I would like a game of snooker to try something different and from the first frame I fell in love with the game and kept nagging my dad if we could play again. And when my dad saw I was getting quite good he got me a coach; Del Smith to help me, and then eventually moved on to my current coach, Gary Filtness.
Who is your biggest inspiration in Snooker?
My biggest inspiration in snooker would have to be Ronnie O'Sullivan, which was an added bonus having the same surname. He is so exciting to watch because you don't know what he could do next, and could make anything on a snooker table possible and still can now which is why he is still my favourite player to watch.
Out of all the Snooker matches you have watched on television, which was your favourite?
There's been a few epic matches which I loved watching, but the one that sticks in my mind all the time is the Paul hunter vs Ronnie match in the final of the masters. It had everything and shows what a great loss Paul is to the game and what a great player he really could have been.
What made you want to enter the Q School this year?
I entered the Q school because I wanted to gain some great experience from it, and hopefully show everyone what I can do.
Where do you practice the most and why do you choose that club over others?
I practice at Upton Park Snooker Centre in East London. In my opinion it's one of the best and well run clubs in London. The owners Mark and Vic Wagner look after me there and it's such a calm and relaxed environment which is perfect for practicing. They are having one of the tables redone for me soon so that it's close to a star table template which will help me improve.
How many hours on average a day will you be practicing on the run-up to the Q School?
I practice 4-5 hours a day minimum and with the Q school coming up that won't change.
Out of the 124 players entering the Q School, who wouldn't you want to be drawn against?
here's no one in the Q school I don't want to meet, because if I want to get on to the main tour then I'm going to need to be able to compete against anyone who's entering the Q school if I expect to get onto the main tour.
Are you nervous ahead of your first-round Q School tie with former Thailand Open champion James Wattana?
I would say I'm more excited than nervous ahead of my first-round Q School tie with James Wattana. I'm sure there will be a couple of first frame nerves but I'm sure I will get over them and be able to give him a good game and possibly cause a shock.
Will you have to make any sacrifices on the run up to the Q School?
I haven't really needed to make any sacrifices in the run up to the Q school. Maybe getting a few hours more sleep a night is the only thing I've changed to help.
If you reached a semi-final in the Q School and get on to the main tour, how would you celebrate?
Well if I was to reach the semifinals of the Q school and get myself on the main tour, I wouldn't know what to do with myself, it would be a great achievement and something well worth celebrating.
Do you consider the UK Championship or the Masters a more prestigious tournament?
I think the UK championships has to be the more prestigious tournament simply because it's a ranking event and the masters isn't. But both a close behind the world championship as the most important tournaments on the main tour calendar.
Do you think Barry Hearn's changes to the sport have all been positive?
I think Barry Hearns changes have been very positive on the game. More tournaments, more publicity for the game, more people getting involved in the game, and the standard seems to have improved since he has made changes and added tournaments.
What would you change about the game to try and bring more young players in?
I don't think there is much to change, I think Barry Hearn is the best man for the job and is pushing the game in the right direction.
Do you think Judd Trump should be the new flag-bearer for the game?
I think Judd Trump already is the flag-bearer for the game after an amazing couple of months for him in china and his run to the final at the Crucible. He has brought the game to a new level which everyone has to try and reach which can only be a positive thing.
Do you think more top players should get in to social media such as Twitter and Facebook?
Yes I do think more of the top players should get involved with things like Facebook and twitter to keep in touch with fans and let them see what the player is like away from the snooker table.
Thanks to Sean for answering our questions and best of luck for the Q School and beyond!