Second in our exclusive interviews with Q School entrants. Today we speak to Dr Khizar Raoof from Hyderabad, India, who is putting his medical career on hold whilst he persues his passion; Snooker.
Khizar hopes he can do himself, his family and the whole of India proud at the Q School this year as he and 124 others fight for just 12 available places on the main tour. Find out more about the Q School here.
The good doctor is also on Twitter! Follow him at @khizzy147
What first got you into playing Snooker?
I started playing when I was 14 yrs old on weekends, my older brother and uncles used to play so I watched them play as I grew up.
Who is your biggest inspiration in Snooker?
Stephen hendry, I feel he is the greatest ever.
Out of all the Snooker matches you have watched on television, which was your favourite?
Even though I didn't watch it live I really enjoyed watching the uk championship final between stephen hendry and ken doherty which hendry won 10-7
What made you want to give up being a Doctor and become a professional Snooker player?
I like to be the best at what I do, and I think I can be the best in the world at snooker.
Do you practice with and know fellow Indian Q School entrant Lucky Vatnani?
We come from the same city of Hyderabad. We started playing together and have been playing each other since our junior days, we practice a lot with each other.
What made you want to enter the Q School this year?
I had started practicing snooker again after finishing med school and won the state championship, this really pushed me to enter Q school.
Where do you practice the most and why do you choose that club over others?
I have a table at home so I play there, clubs in India usually don't have professional level playing conditions so I put up a table at my house.
How many hours on average a day will you be practicing on the run-up to the Q School?
I have been playing for 6-8 hrs 5 days a week for one year now.
Out of the 124 players entering the Q School, who wouldn't you want to be drawn against?
No one as such, but perhaps wouldn't like to play a fellow indian player.
Will you have to make any sacrifices on the run up to the Q School?
I'm away from my family and 6 month old son Hamza for 2 months, that will be tough.
Do you consider the UK Championship or the Masters a more prestigious tournament?
I find the Masters to be a more prestigious even for the sole reason that the only the elite group get to play, and every match is fit to be a final.
Do you think Barry Hearn's changes to the sport have all been positive?
Yes there have been very positive, but to be honest I thought he would flood more money into the sport.
What would you change about the game to try and bring more young players in?
Perhaps have more weekend events for children and have snooker tables donated to schools.
Do you think Judd Trump should be the new flag-bearer for the game?
Of course, he is the next big thing in snooker. He has brought back glamour to the sport.
If you reached a semi-final in the Q School and get on to the main tour, how would you celebrate?
Take my academy mates out to dinner, spend some time in prayer thanking the almighty.
How do you think the game in developing in India?
Its becoming more modern, the young players want to play the kind of snooker they see on tv, its slow but its steady. But its a shame the governing body there does nothing to develop the game at the grassroot level.
In the next 10 years do you think there will be more Indian players on the main tour?
Yes. I think we will have more players coming onto the tour. But the main hurdles lie with the sponsors, the players are very talented but not everyone can afford to come and play here in the UK. That is where the governing body has to help, which unfortunately isn't happening.