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Competitive fire still burns strong for Joe Perry despite early English Open exit

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Joe Perry eyes up life beyond the baize after English Open exit.
Joe Perry eyes up life beyond the baize after English Open exit.

By Will Jennings

Joe Perry is relishing the prospect of life on the other side of the camera when his snooker career comes to an end.

The potter, who trains at WT's Sports Bar in Cambridge, was knocked out in the second round of the English Open in Milton Keynes after losing 4-3 against Iranian player Hossein Vafaei.

World No 16 Perry failed to qualify for the World Championship last season and has endured a turbulent run of the form on the circuit.

His inability to qualify for the Crucible opened the door to BBC punditry work, however, and the 2015 Tour Championship winner says he is plotting a career in the media once he hangs up his cue.

“I enjoyed the experience being on the other side of the camera for a few days,” the 46-year-old said.

"It gave me a great opportunity and I had a really, really enjoyable 12 days from that side of it.

“I’d definitely [like to do more of that in the future] and if anything I enjoyed it too much!

“Hopefully it's there for me in the future because I did really enjoy it but I need to concentrate on what I’m good at.

“I think so [do punditry when I retire] - I’ve been lucky enough to play snooker all my life, I’m not stupid but I wouldn’t know where to start if I started looking for a job.

“Snooker’s my life and snooker’s what I know best so if I can have a career in snooker once my playing days are over that would be fantastic.”

Perry showed signs of his old form against Vafaei but a third-frame break of 136 from the world No 39 helped knock him out of the first Home Nations event of the season.

The Cambridgeshire cueman has showed glimpses of the snooker that saw him rise to world No 8 in recent times, reaching the semi-finals of last season’s Northern Ireland Open and the last eight of the World Grand Prix, Players Championship and the Masters.

His time at the table is not over yet and Perry insists the competitive fire still burns brightly as he enters the twilight of his career.

“During that match I started to get a bit of a feel for it,” he added.

“I wanted to win but it just kicks you in the teeth. It’s tough, especially when you’re fighting yourself as opposed to the game and sometimes snooker can be cruel, and it was today.

“Absolutely [the competitive juices are still flowing] - if you feel flat like I do most of the time and go 2-0 down or 3-0 down then it’s hard to get any fight in you. But I felt a little bit of fight today.”

*Watch the snooker English Open live on Eurosport, Eurosport app and Quest

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