Shaun Murphy
Shaun Murphy PHC 2015-3.jpg
Born (1982-08-10) 10 August 1982 (age 38)
Harlow, England
Sport country England
NicknameThe Magician
Professional1998/1999, 2001–
Highest ranking3 (3 years)
Current ranking 5 (as of 4 May 2021)
Career winnings£4,369,662
Highest break147 (6 times)
Century breaks560
Tournament wins
Ranking9
Minor-ranking4
Non-ranking11
World Champion2005

Shaun Peter Murphy[1] (born 10 August 1982) is an English professional snooker player who won the 2005 World Championship. Nicknamed "The Magician", Murphy is noted for his straight cue action and his long potting.

Born in Harlow, Essex and raised in Irthlingborough, North Northamptonshire, Murphy turned professional in 1998. His victory at the 2005 World Championship was considered a major surprise as he was only the third qualifier to win the title. His other ranking tournament victories came in the 2007 Malta Cup, the 2008 UK Championship, the 2011 Players Tour Championship Grand Final and the 2014 World Open, while he reached a second World Championship final in 2009, a third in 2015 and a fourth in 2021. He has also won seven non-ranking tournaments, including the 2015 Masters, which completed his career Triple Crown.

Murphy has won over £4 million in prize money and has compiled more than 500 century breaks in his professional career. His highest world ranking was number three, which he maintained for three seasons following 2007–08.

On 12 November 2017, Murphy won the Champion of Champions title beating Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final.[2] At the 2019 World Snooker Championship, Murphy became only the second person to perform a whitewash at the world championships, defeating Luo Honghao 10–0 in the opening round.[3]

Early life

Born in Harlow, England, Murphy began playing snooker at the age of eight after his parents bought him a snooker table for Christmas.[4] He made his first century break at the age of 10[5] and practised at the Rushden Snooker Centre, where players such as Stephen Hendry, Mark Williams, and Ken Doherty have also played.[6] At the age of 13, he secured a five-year £5,000-a-year sponsorship deal with the Doc Martens shoe company[5][7] and stated his ambitions of winning the World Championship and becoming world number one.[8] He turned professional in 1998 at the age of 15.[9]

Murphy was coached by Steve Prest until the 2006–07 season.[10] He also received guidance from Willie Thorne[10] and Ray Reardon,[citation needed] and when he was 15 he was given Reardon's old cue by his father.[11]

Snooker career

1998–2001

Murphy began his career on the UK Tour in 1998 (renamed the Challenge Tour in 2000), at the time the second-level professional tour.[12] He was runner-up in the fourth event on the UK tour for the 1997–98 season and, for the 2000–01 season, won the third and fourth events on the Challenge Tour, topping the Order of Merit rankings.[13]

In 2000, he received the World Snooker Newcomer of the Year award[14] and one of six Young Player of Distinction of the Year awards from the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.[15] In 2000, he won the English Open Championship.[7]

Murphy won his first professional tournament at the 2000 Benson & Hedges Championship, defeating Mark Davis 6–1 in the semi-final,[16] and Stuart Bingham 9–7 in the final, recovering from 2–5 down.[17] Although he was not yet on the first-level main tour, this victory brought qualification for the Masters[17]—a prestigious non-ranking invitation tournament with places for members of the top 16, the winner of the qualifying tournament, and a limited number of wildcards. In the 2001 tournament, he showed promise in his first televised match, defeating world number 15, Marco Fu,[7] and building a 4–1 lead over seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry, before losing the match.[18] He made his first maximum break in the 2001 Benson & Hedges Championship.[19]

2002–2004

Murphy first reached the final stages of a ranking event at the 2002 World Championship, hosted at the Crucible Theatre, where he lost 4–10 to Stephen Hendry in the first round.[20] In the 2002–03 season, he reached the final stages of the Scottish Open, where he was defeated 3–5 by Drew Henry in the first round,[21] and the World Championship, where he lost 9–10 against Ken Doherty on the final black in the first round.[22]

For the 2003–04 season, Murphy was ranked number 64[23] and qualified for the final stages of three ranking tournaments. In the LG Cup, he defeated Steve Davis 5–4 in the second round,[24] before losing 2–5 to John Higgins in the third.[25] After the victory over Davis, Murphy said "This is one of the greatest days in my snooker career."[24] In the British Open, he defeated Dave Harold 5–1 in the first round,[26] before losing to Paul Hunter 2–5 in the second round.[27]

In the Players Championship—the new name of the Scottish Open—he lost 3–5 to eventual champion Jimmy White in the second round.[28] He failed to reach the World Championship, losing a qualifying match 7–10 against Stuart Pettman, in which Pettman was docked a frame for arriving late.[29]

2004–05 season: World Champion

Murphy was ranked number 48 for the 2004–05 season[30] and reached the final stages of four ranking events. In the Grand Prix—the new name of the LG Cup—he lost 2–5 to Stephen Maguire in the first round.[31] This was followed by his first ranking semi-final, at the British Open, where he was whitewashed 0–6 by John Higgins.[32][33] In the Malta Cup, he lost 2–5 to Matthew Stevens in the first round.[34]

He won two qualifying matches to reach the main stage of the 2005 World Championship and then defeated former world champions Higgins 13–8, Steve Davis 13–4, and Peter Ebdon 17–12 to reach the final where he faced Stevens, the world number six.[30][35] After trailing 6–10 at the end of the first day (the World Championship final is played over two days),[36] he made a comeback to level the score at 16–16. He then made two frame-winning breaks to lift the title.[37] His 11 century breaks were the most in that year's tournament.[38]

Murphy's victory was considered a major surprise. His pre-tournament odds were 150–1, and before his win he was considered an underachiever.[39] He became only the third qualifier to win the World Championship (or to reach the final) after Alex Higgins in 1972 and Terry Griffiths in 1979. Aged 22, Murphy was the second-youngest player to win the World Championship, following Stephen Hendry who first lifted the title when he was 21.[33] No previous world champion had played as many matches (seven) to lift the title,[40] and he was the lowest-ranked player, at number 48, to win the tournament.[41] No player had won the World Championship as his first ranking event win since Joe Johnson in 1986.[33] Murphy's run in the tournament earned him the nickname "The Magician" and the tournament doubled his previous career prize money, with which he purchased a house and a Mercedes-Benz.[11] After his win, in July 2005, he married his fiancée Clare.[42]

2005–06 season

For the new season, Murphy improved his ranking to number 21,[43] which would not usually guarantee qualification for ranking events. However, as world champion he qualified automatically for every tournament in the season as the number two seed (and number one seed for the 2006 World Championship).[44] He was invited to play in the Premier League Snooker, a non-ranking tournament with a 25-a-second shot clock, but he went out in the round-robin stage.[45]

He reached the quarter-finals of the inaugural, non-ranking Northern Ireland Trophy before being defeated 4–5 by Neil Robertson.[46] In the first three ranking events of the season—the Grand Prix, the UK Championship, and the Malta Cup—Murphy reached the last 16, losing final-frame matches to Stuart Bingham,[47] Robertson,[48] and Graeme Dott,[49] respectively. After his loss to Bingham, he complained about having to play his match on an outside table, given his world champion status.[47] In the revival of Pot Black, a single-frame knockout tournament not staged since 1991,[50] he was defeated in the final by Matthew Stevens.[51] Murphy was awarded Sportsman of the Year at the BBC East Midlands Sports Awards in December 2005.[52]

At the Masters, Murphy lost 4–6 to John Higgins in the quarter-finals,[53] but reached his second ranking final in the Welsh Open, losing 4–9 to Stephen Lee.[54] In the World Championship, he reached the quarter-finals, but fell victim to the so-called "Crucible curse", where no first-time champion has successfully defended the title at the Crucible Theatre,[55] when he was defeated 7–13 by Peter Ebdon.[56]

2006–07 season

For the next season, Murphy moved to number five in the world rankings,[57] entering the elite top 16 for the first time, and thereby automatically qualifying for the final stages of ranking tournaments and receiving an automatic invitation to the Masters.

In the Northern Ireland Trophy (a ranking event in this season), he lost 4–5 to Stephen Lee in the quarter-finals,[58] and in the UK Championship, he lost 3–9 to Alan McManus in the second round.[59] A 3–6 defeat by Stephen Hendry in the quarter-finals of the Masters[60] was followed by his second ranking title, when he defeated Ryan Day 9–4 in the final of the Malta Cup.[61] After the victory, he said it was a relief to get rid of the one-hit wonder label.[62] In his next match, a victory over Jamie Cope in the Welsh Open, he scored centuries in four consecutive frames, becoming only the second player to do so (after John Higgins in the 2005 Grand Prix final) and the only person to achieve this in a best-of-nine-frames match.[63] He went on to lose 3–5 to Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals.[64] In the World Championship, Murphy defeated Matthew Stevens 13–12 in the quarter-finals—recovering from 5–11 down and knocking Stevens out of the top 16[65][66]—before losing 16–17 against Mark Selby in the semi-finals.[67]

2007–08 season

For the 2007–08 season, Murphy was ranked number three, his highest-ever ranking,[68] and reached at least the semi-finals of five ranking events but without winning any.

In the inaugural Shanghai Masters, he was defeated 2–5 by Ian McCulloch in the first round.[69] He reached the final of the 2007 Pot Black tournament, where he was defeated by Ken Doherty.[70] In the Grand Prix, he reached the semi-finals, where he lost 5–6 against Ronnie O'Sullivan, despite an earlier 5–2 lead.[71][72] Further semi-finals followed at the Northern Ireland Trophy and the UK Championship, where he was defeated on both occasions by Stephen Maguire, 5–6[73] and 5–9,[74] respectively, making it three consecutive semi-final losses. Before the UK Championship, Murphy was provisionally ranked world number one.[41][75] He successfully defended his Malta Cup title (that year the tournament was not a ranking event) with a 9–3 victory over Doherty in the final.[76] In the China Open, he defeated Mark Selby 6–3 in the semi-finals[77]—his sixth semi-final appearance in the past seven ranking events[78]—but lost 9–10 to Maguire in the final.[79]

Before the World Championship, Murphy was again provisional world number one.[80] As one of the favourites for the championship, he reached the second round where he lost 4–13 to Ali Carter.[78][81] After his loss, Murphy criticised the state of the tables.[78]

2008–09 season: UK Champion

Murphy speaking with Mark Selby before the final of the 2008 Paul Hunter Classic

Murphy maintained his number three ranking for the 2008–09 season.[82] He won the non-ranking Paul Hunter Classic, defeating Mark Selby 4–0 in the final,[83] but lost in the first round of the first four ranking tournaments, including a 4–5 defeat by world number 47 Mike Dunn in the Bahrain Championship.[84] Murphy and his wife separated in October, after three years of marriage.[85]

Despite the four consecutive first-round losses—which had been attributed to the split from his wife[86]—he claimed his third ranking title at the UK Championship, defeating Marco Fu 10–9 in a low-quality final, in which he fluked a pink in the deciding frame that was effectively match ball.[87][88] The victory meant that Murphy joined Steve Davis, Alex Higgins, Terry Griffiths, John Parrott, Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Williams, John Higgins and Peter Ebdon as one of only ten players to have won both the World title and the UK title.

In the World Championship, there were concerns that Murphy's estranged wife would serve him divorce papers during play of his first-round match against Andrew Higginson. He defeated Higginson 10–8 without incident, although his wife's parents were present in the arena and were asked to leave.[89][90] He went on to defeat Fu 13–3, Hendry 13–11, and Neil Robertson 17–14, to earn a place in his second world final with two-time world champion Higgins as his opponent.[91] In the final, he trailed 5–11 after the first day, and was beaten 9–18 by Higgins.[92] On the first day of the final, a newspaper published a "kiss and tell" story involving Murphy.[93]

2009–10 season

Murphy maintained his number three ranking for a third year in the 2009–10 season.[94] He successfully defended his Paul Hunter Classic title, defeating White 4–0 in the final.[95] He won the Premier League Snooker with a 7–3 win against O'Sullivan in the final, ending the latter's run of five consecutive wins in the tournament.[96]

He reached the semi-finals of the first ranking tournament, the Shanghai Masters, before losing 5–6 against Liang Wenbo.[97] This would be his only run to the semi-finals or better in a ranking tournament that season. In the UK Championship, as the defending champion, he lost 5–9 to eventual winner Ding Junhui in the second round.[98] After the match, Murphy complained about Ding leaving the arena too often after frames, saying "I can't believe anyone needs to go to the toilet after every single frame."[99] He reached the quarter-finals of the Masters, where he lost 4–6 against Mark Williams.[100] In the Welsh Open and the China Open, he lost his first-round matches to Matthew Stevens[101] and Nigel Bond,[102] respectively. In the World Championship, he defeated Gerard Greene and Ding, but lost 12–13 against Ali Carter in the quarter-finals, despite leading 8–4.[103][104] This was the first season in which he did not reach a final or better of a ranking tournament since the 2003–04 season.

2010–11 season

After three seasons ranked number three, he dropped to number seven for the 2010–11 season.[105] He won the Wuxi Classic, a non-ranking tournament held in China, defeating Ding Junhui 9–8, having recovered from 2–8 down.[106] Murphy reached the semi-finals of the Paul Hunter Classic, now part of the Players Tour Championship minor-ranking series, but lost 2–4 against eventual winner Judd Trump.[107] Murphy won the Brugge Open, the second European event of the Players Tour Championship, with defeating Matthew Couch 4–2 in the final.[108] He reached the final of the Ruhr Championship, but lost 2–4 against John Higgins.[109] Murphy finished first on the Players Tour Championship Order of Merit,[110] couldn't defend his Premier League Snooker title, as he lost 1–7 against Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final.[111] He then reached the semi-finals of the 2010 UK Championship, where he lost to eventual runner-up Mark Williams 8–9.[112]

Murphy lost in the first round of the Masters 3–6 against Jamie Cope,[113] in the second round of the German Masters 2–5 against Joe Swail[114] and in the first round of the Welsh Open 0–4 against Matthew Stevens.[115] Murphy then won the finals of the Players Tour Championship with a 4–0 victory over Martin Gould,[116] winning his fourth ranking title.[117] The next week Murphy also reached the final of the Championship League, but lost 1–3 against Stevens.[118] Murphy reached the semi-final of the China Open, where he lost 1–6 against Trump.[119] Murphy's last tournament of the season was the World Championship, where he lost in the second round 10–13 against O'Sullivan.[120]

2011–12 season

Murphy began the 2011–12 season ranked number seven.[121] He could not defend his Wuxi Classic title, as he lost 3–6 against Ali Carter.[122] Murphy reached the semi-finals of the Australian Goldfields Open, but lost 2–6 against eventual champion Stuart Bingham.[123] At the Shanghai Masters Murphy reached the quarter-finals, but lost 4–5 against Mark Selby.[124] Murphy's next tournament was the Brazil Masters, where he defeated Graeme Dott 5–0 in the final.[125] Murphy also participated at the Premier League and ended the league stage with two wins and four losses. As a result, he did not advance to the play-off.[126] Murphy then reached the quarter-finals of the UK Championship, but lost 3–6 against Ricky Walden.[127] He also participated at the Players Tour Championship, where his best results came at the Warsaw Classic and the Kay Suzanne Memorial Trophy, where he reached the quarter-finals, but lost 3–4 against Neil Robertson and 2–4 against Matthew Stevens respectively.[128] He finished number 37 on the Order of Merit,[129][130] and could not qualify to the Finals to defend his title.[131]

Murphy reached his first Masters final,[132] but lost 6–10 against Robertson.[133] Murphy then reached the semi-finals of the next two ranking tournaments, but lost 0–6 against Stephen Maguire at the German Masters,[134] 2–6 against Ding Junhui at the Welsh Open.[135] He then lost in the quarter-finals of the World Open 0–5 against Mark Selby.[136] Murphy ended the season with two first round losses. He lost 2–5 against wild-card Lu Ning at the China Open and 8–10 against Jamie Jones at the World Snooker Championship.[137][138]

2012–13 season

Murphy at the 2013 German Masters

Murphy began the 2012–13 season ranked number six.[139] The first tournament for Murphy was the Wuxi Classic, where he lost in the first round 1–5 against Ken Doherty.[140] Murphy's next tournament was the Six-red World Championship, where he finished first in Group E with four wins out of five matches and advanced to the knock-out stage.[141] There he defeated James Wattana, Barry Hawkins, Dominic Dale and Judd Trump to reach the final, but lost 4–8 against Mark Davis.[142][143] He then reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Goldfields Open, but lost 4–5 against Peter Ebdon.[144] Murphy went one better in the next two ranking tournaments, as he reached the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters and the International Championship, but lost 3–6 against John Higgins and 5–9 against Neil Robertson respectively.[145][146] Murphy than reached the final of the 2012 UK Championship courtesy of two tight victories. The first against teenager Luca Brecel in the quarter-finals, after Brecel twice had the chance to pot the final pink and black to win the match,[147] then against Ali Carter in which Murphy recovered from 4–8 down and 0–32 in points behind in the deciding frame to win 9–8.[148] He was ultimately defeated by good friend Mark Selby 6–10 in the final.[149] He also participated at the Players Tour Championship, with his best result coming at the third English event, where he reached the semi-finals, but lost 0–4 against Marco Fu.[150] He finished number 29 on the Order of Merit,[151][152] and couldn't qualify to the Finals.[153]

Murphy began the year by reaching the semi-finals at the Masters, but lost 2–6 against Robertson.[154] He then reached the quarter-final of the German Masters, but lost 4–5 against Robertson.[155] In the first round of the 2013 World Snooker Championship, Murphy defeated Martin Gould 10–5 to advance to the second round, where he faced Graeme Dott, winning 13–11. In the quarter-final, he faced Trump in a tense match that went to a deciding frame, after Trump won five consecutive frames from 7–12 down to level at 12–12. Trump ultimately prevailed in a nervy last frame to go through to the semi-final.[156]

2013–14 season

Murphy at the 2014 German Masters

Murphy's 2013–14 season began with a shock 1–5 defeat by Alex Davies in the qualifying round of the 2013 Wuxi Classic.[157] The tournament was the first to use a new format that required top-16 players to compete in qualifiers.[158]

Between August 2013 and January 2014, Murphy lost 3 stones (42 pounds or 19 kg) in weight, due to a new diet and fitness regime. He stated that one of his health and fitness goals was to improve his stamina and concentration at the table.[159][160]

In group two of the 2014 Championship League, he made his second official maximum break in his round-robin match against Mark Davis.[161]

In the first round of the Masters, Murphy came back from 2–4 behind to defeat Ding Junhui 6–4.[162] He produced another comeback in the quarter-finals, where he trailed Marco Fu 1–4 before winning five frames in a row to clinch a 6–4 victory.[163] He faced defending champion Mark Selby in the semi-finals, but lost 1–6.[164]

In February 2014, while playing Jamie Jones in the last 16 of the minor-ranking Gdynia Open, Murphy made his second 147 break of the season and the third of his professional career.[165] He went on to win the tournament, defeating Fergal O'Brien 4–1 in the final to capture his first title in 29 months.[166][167] The following month, he defeated Selby 10–6 in the final of the World Open, winning the fifth ranking title of his career and his first ranking title in three years.[168]

At the World Championship, Murphy defeated Jamie Cope 10–9 and Marco Fu 13–8 to reach the quarter-finals,[169] where he faced defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan. Murphy was defeated 3–13 with a session to spare.[170]

2014–15 season: Masters Champion

Murphy at the 2015 German Masters

Murphy won the Bulgarian Open in October, with a 4–2 victory over Martin Gould in the final.[171] Two weeks later, he reached the final of the General Cup but lost 6–7 against Ali Carter.[172] In November, he won the Ruhr Open by defeating Robert Milkins 4–0 in the final. In the second frame of this match, he achieved the fourth maximum break of his career after missing out on the maximum on two previous occasions earlier that day—in a match against Joe Swail where Murphy made a break of 129 before missing the blue ball, and in a match against Mark Williams where the maximum attempt ended on a break of 122 as he missed the green ball.[173] In 2014, Murphy became the first player to make three maximums in a calendar year.

At the Masters in January, he defeated Mark Selby, Stephen Maguire, and Mark Allen en route to the final against Neil Robertson. Murphy won the match 10–2, completing his career Triple Crown.[174][175]

In the World Championship, seeded eighth, Murphy beat Robin Hull 10–3, Joe Perry 13–5, Anthony McGill 13–8, and Barry Hawkins 17–9, to reach his third World Championship final where he met tenth seed Stuart Bingham.[176] Despite leading 3–0 and 8–5, Murphy fell behind 11–14 in the third session; after fighting back to level the score at 15–15, he lost the next three frames and the final 15–18.[177]

2015–16 season

At the UK Championship, Murphy defeated Ashley Hugill, Zhou Yuelong, and Ben Woollaston to reach the last 16, but then lost 4–6 to Marco Fu.[178] In defence of his title at the Masters, he was knocked out in the first round by Mark Allen, losing 4–6.[179] Murphy's only ranking title this season came at the World Grand Prix in March. With wins over Michael White, Martin Gould, Liang Wenbo, and Ding Junhui, he met Stuart Bingham in the final—a repeat of the previous year's World Championship final—and claimed the victory this time by winning 10–9.[180] At the World Snooker Championship, Murphy suffered a shocking first-round exit, losing 8–10 to Anthony McGill.[181]

2016–17 season

After beating the likes of Dominic Dale and Luca Brecel, Murphy reached the semi-finals of the UK Championship but lost 2–6 to the eventual champion Mark Selby.[182] He faced another first-round exit at the Masters, this time losing heavily to Barry Hawkins 1–6.[183] In March 2017, Murphy won his seventh ranking title, and his first of the season, by beating Judd Trump 4–2 in the Gibraltar Open final.[184] At the World Snooker Championship, his 10–8 victory over Yan Bingtao earned him a place in the second round, where he was defeated by Ronnie O'Sullivan 13–7.[185][186]

2017–18 season

Murphy reached the final of the China Championship in August, with victories over Zhang Anda, Ken Doherty, Anthony Hamilton, Stephen Maguire, Zhou Yuelong, and Ali Carter, but he was defeated 5–10 by Luca Brecel in the final.[187] Later that month, he reached the second ranking tournament final of the season, the Paul Hunter Classic, this time losing 2–4 to Michael White.[188] In November, he won the invitational Champion of Champions tournament for the first time, beating Mark King, White, and Brecel on the way to the final, before claiming a 10–8 victory over Ronnie O'Sullivan.[189] The pair faced each other again in the final of the UK Championship in December, but this time Murphy lost 5–10.[190]

At the Masters, he avoided another first-round exit by beating Carter 6–4, though it was a hard-fought victory as Carter recovered from a 0–4 deficit to pull up to 4–5 behind.[191] However, Murphy was knocked out of the tournament in the next round by Judd Trump, losing 4–6.[192] He reached his third ranking final of the season at the Players Championship in March. After defeating Kyren Wilson, Anthony McGill, and Mark Williams, he met Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final for the third time this season; trailing 3–6 at the end of the afternoon session, he eventually lost the match 4–10.[193][194] At the end of the season, Murphy suffered another shocking first-round exit at the World Snooker Championship, losing 9–10 to Jamie Jones.[195]

2018–19 season

In December 2018, Murphy was defeated by world number 124 Chen Feilong in the first round of the UK Championship. Despite taking an early lead of 3–1, Murphy lost the next five frames and lost the match 3–6.[196][197] He bounced back later that month and reached the final of the Scottish Open after winning against the likes of Michael Holt, Kyren Wilson, and Judd Trump to face Mark Allen in the final. After trailing 3–6, Murphy won four frames out of the next five to level the match at 7–7, but Allen eventually claimed the title by winning 9–7.[198] In January 2019, Murphy lost 2–6 to Barry Hawkins in the first round of the Masters.[199] At the World Snooker Championship, Murphy whitewashed debutant Luo Honghao in the first round, winning 10–0, which is the biggest defeat in Crucible history.[200][201] But he was knocked out of the tournament by Neil Robertson in the next round, losing 6–13.[202]

2019–20 season

In August 2019, Murphy won against the likes of Yuan Sijun, Yan Bingtao, Neil Robertson, Graeme Dott, and Mark Allen to face Judd Trump in the final of the International Championship. After trailing 0–5 at the beginning, Murphy eventually lost the match 3–10.[203] In September, Murphy also reached the final of the Shanghai Masters, an invitational tournament, after beating Lyu Haotian, Mark Williams, Jack Lisowski, and Mark Allen. He suffered another defeat in the final against Ronnie O'Sullivan, this time losing 9–11.[204] He defeated Williams in the final of the China Championship later that month and captured his first ranking title since winning the Gibraltar Open in March 2017.[205][206] At the UK Championship, Murphy lost 4–6 to Eden Sharav in the first round, despite taking an early lead of 3–1.[207] In January 2020, Murphy progressed to the semi-finals of the Masters for the first time since winning the title in 2015 after defeating Trump and Joe Perry,[208][209] but he eventually lost 3–6 to Ali Carter.[210] In February 2020, Murphy claimed his ninth ranking title after thrashing Kyren Wilson in the final of the Welsh Open. He made three century breaks and three more breaks over 70 to win 9–1.[211][212] At the World Snooker Championship, Murphy had another first round exit after losing to Noppon Saengkham 4–10.[213]

2020–21 season

Murphy reached the semi-finals of the European Masters in September, knocking out the defending champion Neil Robertson at the quarter-final stage, but was then himself defeated 3–6 by Mark Selby.[214] He made a quarter-final appearance at the Masters in January where he was defeated by the same scoreline by Stuart Bingham.[215]

Defending his title at the Welsh Open in February, Murphy was defeated in the quarter-finals by Stephen Maguire in a ninth-frame decider after taking an earlier 4–3 lead.[216]

Rivalry

Murphy has clashed with Stephen Maguire, another of the 2000 Young Players of Distinction, on several occasions. At the start of their 2004 Grand Prix match, there was an incident that resulted in Maguire being docked the opening frame. After they had shaken hands at the outset of the first frame, Maguire asked referee Johan Oomen for permission to leave the arena and retrieve his chalk, which he had forgotten. While Maguire was away, the referee and Murphy spoke before tournament director Mike Ganley arrived on the scene and docked Maguire a frame for technically not being ready to start at the scheduled time, which angered and surprised Maguire. Murphy refutes that the docking of the frame was down to him speaking to the referee. Maguire won the match 5–2 and later commented: "Rules are rules but I've never heard of anything like that happening before".[217]

Further incidents came in subsequent years. During the 2006 World Championship, Maguire said "I don't want to be a fat world champion", a perceived reference to Murphy.[218] After beating Murphy in the 2007 Welsh Open, Maguire said of the chalk incident, "That put the icing on the cake, but we've always had a rivalry. I dislike him and I think he dislikes me. I try hard to beat everyone, but it would have hurt more if I'd lost to him."[219] Murphy currently leads the head-to-head 14–11.[220]

Murphy has been outspoken about several other of his rivals, criticising them for having too many toilet breaks and complaining about table conditions among other things.[99][221] Murphy also makes collective criticisms of his fellow professionals for not attending events and has branded other players' concerns over prize money as a joke.[222][223]

Playing style

Murphy is noted for his straight cue action[11]—which Steve Davis once called "the best cue action I've ever seen"[11]—his long potting,[41] and his breakbuilding.[41] Phil Yates wrote in 2008 in The Times that Murphy has improved his tactical game since his World Championship victory.[80] He has compiled more than 500 century breaks and has made five maximum breaks. His career earnings amount to more than £3 million.[224]

Personal life

Murphy was born in Harlow and grew up in Irthlingborough. He was home-schooled from age 13 after being bullied at school,[4][11] and his parents split up when he was 14. He lived with his father Tony, a former professional golfer, and did not see his mother again until he was 19.[4][225] During the 2007 World Championship, it was reported that he had developed a rift with his father, who was a member of the World Snooker board.[226][227] He said that they had not spoken in over a year, but that he would willingly speak to his father again if the other called him.[227]

Murphy moved to Rotherham during the 2004 season to be with his fiancée, Clare,[33] whom he married in July 2005.[42] Murphy's wife filed for divorce in 2009 on the grounds of infidelity after The People newspaper published an exposé revealing he had spent the night with an escort girl he had met at a religious youth group. Murphy's then manager, Brandon Parker, issued a statement confirming that Murphy had slept with the woman but denied he had been unfaithful, stating that Murphy did not have sex with her.[93][228] He also dated Claire Chorlton, who was first introduced to the viewing public backstage during the final of the 2012 UK Championship.[229] Murphy became engaged to his girlfriend Elaine, after proposing marriage at a restaurant in her native Ireland during Christmas 2014.[citation needed] The couple married in June 2016, and have since had a son.[230] The family moved to Dublin, Ireland in 2018.[231]

Murphy became a Christian at the age of 15, after meeting a religious family on holiday.[11][232] Murphy is well known for his charitable nature, having spent some of the summer of 2006 doing aid work in Zimbabwe with his then wife, Clare.[233] He also donated one-tenth of his 2005 World Championship winnings to the church,[11] and at the 2012 World Snooker Championship Murphy donated £100 to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity for every century he made.[234]

Murphy is currently based in Dublin with his family.[235]

Performance and rankings timeline

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Ranking[236][nb 1] [nb 2] [nb 3] [nb 3] [nb 2] 72 64 48 21 5 3 3 3 7 7 6 4 7 6 4 8 8 14 8
Ranking tournaments
European Masters[nb 4] LQ Not Held LQ LQ LQ 1R 2R W NR Tournament Not Held 1R LQ LQ LQ SF
English Open Tournament Not Held 2R 4R 3R 4R 2R
Championship League Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event 2R
Northern Ireland Open Tournament Not Held 1R 1R 1R QF 1R
UK Championship LQ A A LQ WD LQ LQ 3R 2R SF W 2R SF QF F 4R 4R 4R SF F 1R 1R 2R
Scottish Open[nb 5] LQ A A LQ 1R 2R Tournament Not Held MR Not Held 2R 1R F 4R 3R
World Grand Prix Tournament Not Held NR W QF QF 1R 1R 1R
German Masters NR Tournament Not Held 2R SF QF 3R F 1R LQ SF 1R SF 1R
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event SF 1R 2R 4R 2R
Welsh Open LQ A A LQ LQ LQ LQ F QF SF QF 1R 1R SF 1R 3R 2R 3R 2R 1R 2R W QF
Players Championship[nb 6] Tournament Not Held W DNQ DNQ 2R 2R SF 1R F DNQ SF DNQ
Gibraltar Open Tournament Not Held MR W WD 3R A 3R
WST Pro Series Tournament Not Held 2R
Tour Championship Tournament Not Held DNQ QF DNQ
World Championship LQ LQ LQ 1R 1R LQ W QF SF 2R F QF 2R 1R QF QF F 1R 2R 1R 2R 1R F
Non-ranking tournaments
Champion of Champions Tournament Not Held 1R 1R 1R 1R W SF QF 1R
The Masters LQ LQ 1R LQ LQ LQ A QF QF QF 1R QF 1R F SF SF W 1R 1R QF 1R SF QF
Championship League Tournament Not Held SF RR RR F 2R RR SF WD A RR WD A A A
Variant format tournaments
Six-red World Championship[nb 7] Tournament Not Held A 1R A NH F QF QF A A A A A NH
Former ranking tournaments
Thailand Masters LQ A A LQ NR Not Held NR Tournament Not Held
British Open LQ A A LQ LQ 2R SF Tournament Not Held
Irish Masters Non-Ranking Event LQ LQ LQ NH NR Tournament Not Held
Northern Ireland Trophy Tournament Not Held NR QF SF 2R Tournament Not Held
Bahrain Championship Tournament Not Held 1R Tournament Not Held
Wuxi Classic[nb 8] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking 1R LQ QF Tournament Not Held
Australian Goldfields Open Tournament Not Held SF QF 2R 2R 1R Tournament Not Held
Shanghai Masters Tournament Not Held 1R 1R SF 2R QF SF 2R 2R 2R 1R LQ Non-Rank. NH
Paul Hunter Classic[nb 9] Tournament Not Held Pro-am Event Minor-Ranking Event A F 1R NR NH
Indian Open Tournament Not Held LQ A NH SF 3R 2R Not Held
China Open[nb 10] LQ A A LQ Not Held LQ 1R QF F QF 1R SF 1R SF 3R QF 2R QF 1R LQ Not Held
Riga Masters[nb 11] Tournament Not Held MR A LQ 2R LQ NH
International Championship Tournament Not Held SF 1R 2R 3R QF 3R LQ F NH
China Championship Tournament Not Held NR F 3R W NH
World Open[nb 12] LQ A A LQ LQ 3R 1R 3R RR SF 1R 1R LQ QF 2R W Not Held QF 1R LQ 2R NH
Former non-ranking tournaments
Masters Qualifying Event[nb 13] 3R 2R W SF 2R 3R NH A A A A A Tournament Not Held
Northern Ireland Trophy Tournament Not Held QF Ranking Event Tournament Not Held
Pot Black Tournament Not Held F QF F Tournament Not Held
European Open[nb 4] Not Held Ranking Event W Tournament Not Held Ranking Event
World Series Jersey Tournament Not Held SF Tournament Not Held
World Series Berlin Tournament Not Held F Tournament Not Held
World Series Grand Final Tournament Not Held W Tournament Not Held
World Series Killarney Tournament Not Held W Tournament Not Held
Hainan Classic Tournament Not Held RR Tournament Not Held
Wuxi Classic[nb 8] Tournament Not Held RR SF W SF Ranking Event Tournament Not Held
Brazil Masters Tournament Not Held W Tournament Not Held
Power Snooker Tournament Not Held SF 1R Tournament Not Held
Premier League A A A A A A A RR A A A W F RR RR Tournament Not Held
World Grand Prix Tournament Not Held 1R Ranking Event
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held 1R 1R 1R 2R QF 2R Ranking Event
China Championship Tournament Not Held SF Ranking Event NH
Hong Kong Masters Tournament Not Held QF Not Held
Shanghai Masters Tournament Not Held Ranking Event WD F NH
Performance Table Legend
LQ lost in the qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals
SF lost in the semi-finals F lost in the final W won the tournament
DNQ did not qualify for the tournament A did not participate in the tournament WD withdrew from the tournament
NH / Not Held means an event was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Event means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Event means an event is/was a ranking event.
RV / Ranking & Variant Format Event means an event is/was a ranking & variant format event.
MR / Minor-Ranking Event means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.
PA / Pro-am Event means an event is/was a pro-am event.
VF / Variant Format Event means an event is/was a variant format event.
  1. ^ From the 2010/2011 season it shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
  2. ^ a b New players on the Main Tour do not have a ranking
  3. ^ a b He was not on the Main Tour.
  4. ^ a b The event was called the Irish Open (1998/1999) and Malta Cup (2004/2005–2007/2008)
  5. ^ The event was called the Players Championship (2003/2004)
  6. ^ The event was called the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011–2012/2013) and the Players Championship Grand Final (2013/2014–2015/2016)
  7. ^ The event was called the Six-red Snooker International (2008/2009) and the Six-red World Grand Prix (2009/2010)
  8. ^ a b The event was called the Jiangsu Classic (2008/2009–2009/2010)
  9. ^ The event was called the Grand Prix Fürth (2004/2005) and the Fürth German Open (2005/2006–2006/2007)
  10. ^ The event was called the China International (1998/1999)
  11. ^ The event was called the Riga Open (2014/2015–2015/2016)
  12. ^ The event was called the Grand Prix (1998/1999–2000/2001 and 2004/2005–2009/2010), the LG Cup (2001/2002–2003/2004) and the Haikou World Open (2011/2012–2013/2014)
  13. ^ The event was also called the Benson & Hedges Championship (1990/1991–2002/2003)

Career finals

Ranking finals: 22 (9 titles, 13 runners-up)

Legend
World Championship (1–3)
UK Championship (1–2)
Other (7–8)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score Ref.
Winner 1. 2005 World Snooker Championship Matthew Stevens 18–16 [237]
Runner-up 1. 2006 Welsh Open Stephen Lee 4–9 [238]
Winner 2. 2007 Malta Cup Ryan Day 9–4 [239]
Runner-up 2. 2008 China Open Stephen Maguire 9–10 [240]
Winner 3. 2008 UK Championship Marco Fu 10–9 [241]
Runner-up 3. 2009 World Snooker Championship John Higgins 9–18 [237]
Winner 4. 2011 Players Tour Championship Finals Martin Gould 4–0 [242]
Runner-up 4. 2012 UK Championship Mark Selby 6–10 [243]
Winner 5. 2014 World Open Mark Selby 10–6 [244]
Runner-up 5. 2015 German Masters Mark Selby 7–9 [245]
Runner-up 6. 2015 World Snooker Championship (2) Stuart Bingham 15–18 [246]
Winner 6. 2016 World Grand Prix Stuart Bingham 10–9 [247]
Winner 7. 2017 Gibraltar Open Judd Trump 4–2 [248]
Runner-up 7. 2017 China Championship Luca Brecel 5–10 [249]
Runner-up 8. 2017 Paul Hunter Classic Michael White 2–4 [250]
Runner-up 9. 2017 UK Championship (2) Ronnie O'Sullivan 5–10 [251]
Runner-up 10. 2018 Players Championship Ronnie O'Sullivan 4–10 [252]
Runner-up 11. 2018 Scottish Open Mark Allen 7–9 [253]
Runner-up 12. 2019 International Championship Judd Trump 3–10 [254]
Winner 8. 2019 China Championship Mark Williams 10–9 [255]
Winner 9. 2020 Welsh Open Kyren Wilson 9–1 [256]
Runner-up 13. 2021 World Snooker Championship Mark Selby 15–18 [257]

Minor-ranking finals: 6 (4 titles, 2 runners-up)

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score Ref.
Winner 1. 2010 Brugge Open Matthew Couch 4–2 [242]
Runner-up 1. 2010 Ruhr Championship John Higgins 2–4 [242]
Winner 2. 2014 Gdynia Open Fergal O'Brien 4–1 [166]
Winner 3. 2014 Bulgarian Open Martin Gould 4–2 [171]
Winner 4. 2014 Ruhr Open Robert Milkins 4–0 [173]
Runner-up 2. 2015 Paul Hunter Classic Ali Carter 3–4 [258]

Non-ranking finals: 21 (11 titles, 10 runners-up)

Legend
The Masters (1–1)
Champion of Champions (1–0)
Premier League (1–1)
Other (8–8)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score Ref.
Runner-up 1. 1998 UK Tour – Event 4 Patrick Wallace 4–6 [259]
Winner 1. 2000 Benson & Hedges Championship Stuart Bingham 9–7 [260]
Winner 2. 2001 Challenge Tour – Event 3 Andrew Norman 6–3 [259]
Winner 3. 2001 Challenge Tour – Event 4 Luke Simmonds 6–2 [259]
Runner-up 2. 2001 WPBSA Open Tour – Event 1 Mark Gray 2–5 [261]
Runner-up 3. 2005 Pot Black Matthew Stevens 0–1 [262]
Runner-up 4. 2007 Pot Black (2) Ken Doherty 0–1 [262]
Winner 4. 2008 Malta Cup Ken Doherty 9–3 [239]
Runner-up 5. 2008 World Series of Snooker Berlin Graeme Dott 1–6 [263]
Winner 5. 2009 Premier League Ronnie O'Sullivan 7–3 [264]
Winner 6. 2009 World Series of Snooker Grand Final John Higgins 6–2 [265]
Winner 7. 2009 World Series of Snooker Killarney Jimmy White 5–1 [266]
Winner 8. 2010 Wuxi Classic Ding Junhui 9–8 [240]
Runner-up 6. 2010 Premier League Ronnie O'Sullivan 1–7 [264]
Runner-up 7. 2011 Championship League Matthew Stevens 1–3 [264]
Winner 9. 2011 Brazil Masters Graeme Dott 5–0 [125]
Runner-up 8. 2012 The Masters Neil Robertson 6–10 [133]
Runner-up 9. 2014 General Cup Ali Carter 6–7 [172]
Winner 10. 2015 The Masters Neil Robertson 10–2 [174]
Winner 11. 2017 Champion of Champions Ronnie O'Sullivan 10–8 [267]
Runner-up 10. 2019 Shanghai Masters Ronnie O'Sullivan 9–11 [268]

Pro-am finals: 2 (2 titles)

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2008 Paul Hunter Classic Mark Selby 4–0
Winner 2. 2009 Paul Hunter Classic (2) Jimmy White 4–0

Variant finals: 1 (1 runner-up)

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score Ref.
Runner-up 1. 2012 Six-red World Championship Mark Davis 4–8 [143]

Amateur finals: 1 (1 title)

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score Ref.
Winner 1. 2000 English Open Brian Salmon 8–1 [269]

Maximum breaks

No. Year Championship Opponent Ref.
1. 2001 Benson & Hedges Championship England Adrian Rosa [270]
2. 2014 Championship League England Mark Davis [270]
3. 2014 Gdynia Open Wales Jamie Jones [270]
4. 2014 Ruhr Open England Robert Milkins [270]
5. 2016 European Masters England Allan Taylor [270]

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External links