Emma Parker Interview
The Women’s World Snooker Championships will have been running for forty consecutive years when it takes place at the Hi-End Snooker Club in Thailand next June. Over the four decades the tournament has been running two competitors Allison Fisher & Reanne Evans have dominated the event winning nineteen of the previous forty tournaments.
Reanne Evans was this week announced as the World Number One in the world snooker rankings, however a number players are challenging for her crown including Ng On-Wee, Rebecca Kenna, Nutcharut Wongharuthai, Laura Evans and Maria Catalano.
One player to lookout for in the future is Emma Parker who has enjoyed a fantastic couple of years on the women’s circuit, which has seen her become World Number One in her age group and World Number Eight in the senior rankings.
Chadwick Media this week caught up with the U21 World Number One Emma Parker to discuss her snooker career and also how World Snooker are developing the women’s game around the world.
Biggest influence on your snooker career?
The biggest influence in my snooker career has got to be my family they encourage me to work hard and have helped me achieve alot in my career so far. The moment I picked up a cue and started to playing snooker they have fully supported me and I couldnt be more appreciative. My parents come to all my UK events and always ensure I have someone to go with when I compete abroad. They have also used alot of their own money to finance my expenses which allows me to play in major tournaments and for that i am very grateful.
What is the highlight of your snooker career?
Picking just one highlight of my career so far is a really tough question, I think one of my highlights so far would have to be becoming world number one in the U21 rankings after multiple event wins. Winning those events gave me great confidence and belief about my future in the sport. Another highlight was receiving an invite to play in a mens ranking event ‘The Shootout’ which was broadcasted live on Euro Sport One. I felt very nervous and also very excited to be playing in this event, the publicity & support I received at the tournament was huge and something I will never forget!
The toughest opponent you faced and why?
The toughest opponent to play on the women’s tour has got to be Reanne Evans she has so much experience and knowledge in the game which makes her very dominant around the table. She has won a number of events including twelve world titles and in my opinion she is the greatest female player of all time. We have an excellent relationship and I really look up to her, just being able to practice with her on occasions has really benefitted my game.
Who would you say is the greatest snooker player of all time?
In my opinion the greatest snooker player of all time has to be Ronnie O’Sullivan. I have played against him several times now and still can’t get over how he makes the sport look so effortless and easy. Ronnie O’Sullivan is a living legend and I am sure a lot of snooker players look up to him and are inspired by him just in the same way as he inspires me.
The womens game has changed over the last 10 years how do you think it has improved in terms of both playing the game and the PR/Media side ?
I ‘ve only been playing on the womens tour for a couple of years but in that time I have already seen a number of improvements. I think having more global events has helped promote the womens tour and therefore has meant more women have got involved, this means the tours are getting stronger year by year. Most of our events now are being live streamed which will definitely help us get the publicity we deserve and need. We also he professional images taken at each of the events on the tour which means we have a public image that can inspire young players. The WWS website has really grown in terms of news player profiles, tournament details and ranking updates, in the future I would love to see more tournaments in the women’s tour calender which will grow the game even further.
World Snooker currently has a Male and Female tour, however we are now starting to see female players enter the male competitions. Do you think its now time for snooker to have one tour for all snooker players ?
I think its good that some women have started to be invited to play in tournaments on the mens main circuit. It gives us alot of exposure and we can learn alot from the experience playing against some of the best players in the world. In terms of having one mixed circuit for all snooker players, i am not sure how that would work at the moment. I think our tour needs to grow more before that can happen, however it would be great to have a few events during the year that were mixed as I feel we deserve just as much publicity as the men.
In terms of your career you are now ranked number one as U21 level, how does it feel to be the best player in the world at your age level?
I feel very proud to be world number one in the ladies U21 rankings, I have worked hard towards this goal and its a great achievement. It has motivated me to climb higher in the main tour rankings.
Ranked as world number eight in the womens game currently how are you looking to improve your game in order to push into the world’s top three?
In order to improve I need to enter as many tournaments as I can in the upcoming season and need to play better players than myself. I believe playing better opponents really helps you to improve, sometimes you learn more just by watching what they do. It also motivates me playing againts a professional as you can see what you could become with hard work and dedication.
In terms of finance the women’s game currently has smaller prize money avaliable than the men’s game. How difficult is it to combine both playing and working full time?
I do find working full time extremely difficult I work as an accounts assistant in a chartered accountants in Hornchurch, Essex which can be quite stressful at times. After work ever night I manage a couple of hours to practice, whilst also playing my league matches on a monday evening and I play in a tournament at Upton Park on a Sunday. I would love to be able to practice everyday as I know my game would improve massively and I would become a much better player. I would love to find a sponsor or a manager that could help my career move forward. Unfortunately the women’s prize money is no where near what the men earn on the professional tour, sports such as tennis, football, golf and darts are all on the rise for women but snooker still has a long way to go. If more money was invested into the women’s game I think more girls from around the world would get involved and we wouldn’t have to combine working full time as well as practicing.
World Snooker have a number initatives in place to promote snooker around the world one of which is Cue Zone. Are you seeing a lot of women and girls attending these events and how else do you think the game can attract more female players ?
Every year at the Crucible a ladies day is held in the Cue Zone area and this helps us attract more women and girls to get involved in the sport. A Cue Zone area is set up at the UK World Championships to give the public a chance to play the game and be coached by the some of the top women players in the world. However to make the sport more attractive to women and girls we need to look at increasing the prize money, number of tournaments and the exposure in the women’s game. But as a positive I think that the women’s tour is going in the right direction.
In terms of your snooker career where do you see yourself in five years time ?
In five years time I want to be ranked within the top three in the world. It would be great if I was doing this as a career and I know with hard work and practice I could achieve this.