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Jack Lisowski Q & A

Jack Lisowski Q & A
By Eurosport

10/08/2009 at 10:37Updated

Eurosport's Przemek Kruk talked with Jack Lisowski who has come back from battling cancer to become one of the top snooker prospects on the circuit.

Lisowski, who has just turned 18, won the first PIOS event of the season and is currently training at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield after being awarded the Paul Hunter Scholarship.

Eurosport: You won the first PIOS event of the season. Is it the biggest achievement of your career so far?

Jack Lisowski: Winning the first PIOS is definitely the biggest achievement of my career so far. All the best amateurs from around the world compete in it and to win the first event is a great start to the season.

ES: That weekend was a double celebration for you as a day before the final you turned 18. How did you celebrate it all?

JL: It was the perfect 18th birthday present and after the final I went home to spend time with my family who I hadn't seen for about a month. We went out for a meal and it was pretty cool having a few drinks for the first time. I also had a few days away from the table and played golf and went shopping with my friends.

ES: Now, that you're a beneficiary of the Paul Hunter Scholarship and you have started your campaign so well, people will be keeping a close eye on you. Does that put more pressure on you?

JL: Having been awarded the scholarship people will definitely be keeping a closer eye on me. I played in the Paul Hunter Open a few weeks ago and had a bit of flu. I didn't play or feel very good and for the first time I think I felt the pressure of everything. I spoke to my dad about it and he told me to just focus on my game and ignore other people but I think it's easier said than done.

ES: You won the battle of your life when you beat Hodgkin's lymphoma. How did the experience impact your snooker?

JL: Having been through cancer puts snooker and normal day-to-day worries into perspective. It definitely matured me a lot as a person and had the same impact on my game. Whenever I'm feeling down I'm able to just remember how things were and it always gives me a boost.

ES: That perspective certainly helps, but could it also play a negative role as time goes by? Might you reach a point where you say "I don't give a damn about results anymore; snooker's not everything"?

JL: I don't think I'll ever get to the stage where I get fed up of snooker. When I was ill all I really wanted to do was get back to full fitness and start practising again. I'm very competitive and love the rush snooker gives me. It's always a challenge to push yourself to practice hard and play in pressure situations and I know it's what I want to make a career out of.

ES: Your comeback after chemotherapy was amazing. You reached last season's PIOS finals and got to the semis of the U19 European Championship. How on earth did you manage this?

JL: As soon as I finished my chemotherapy and radiotherapy I started practising hard again. I felt like a new player and probably practised as many hours in a month as physically possible. I reached a PIOS final and this gave me the confidence and trust to realise that hard work pays off. If I hadn't practised and just went straight back into competition then I don't think I would have been able to compete.

ES: What is the strongest part of your game? Technique, tactics, mentality, or something else? And what's your weakest point?

JL: I think I play a very attacking game and this can be my strength but also my weakness. When the balls are going in it works really well but I'm working on the bit when they don't. I think this is where being at the academy will help me the most. If I'm constantly playing other good players I can learn as fast as possible about my game and what happens when I'm playing well or not. On the technical side I'm quite happy but in another six months I'll be better. Mentally I'm also feeling good and I'm doing some work with a psychologist at the academy to just sharpen up a few things.

ES: Many players have their favourite shots. Some love deep screws, others enjoy sidespin. Do you have one you like best?

JL: My favourite shot is a long blue off the spot. I seem to be quite good at it and I've won a bit of money off of people in 'blue competitions'. It's also a shot that I practice a lot to see if I'm cueing straight.

ES: Daniel Wells set the target. He qualified for the main tour during his scholarship year and 12 months later he was a frame away from the Crucible. Can you beat that?

JL: Daniel Wells did brilliantly after his year from the scholarship. I don't know if I'll do better or worse than him, I'll only aim to push myself every day - making the most of the academy, and see where I end up in a year. If you think about it, all a person can do is their best.

ES: All the achievements of those who do the scholarship will probably be compared. Does this mean Daniel will become a rival for you?

JL: People are probably going to start comparing me and Dan in a few years. We're also getting quite competitive at the academy. We get on really well and I think it can do us both a lot of good if we push each other hard.

ES: Do you have roots in Poland as you family name would suggest?

JL: Obviously living in England and having the surname 'Lisowski' makes me stand out as it's definitely not an English name. People often struggle to pronounce it and it's usually a good conversation starter. My family are not really sure where it's from. My granddad was Ukrainian however I'm regularly told that it's a Polish name. One day I definitely want to look into it and find out for sure where some of my roots lie.

ES: It's been reported that your favourite daily is the Times and your favourite magazine is the Economist. So...when is the economic world crisis going to end?

JL: In my spare time I like to read and one of my favourite magazines is The Economist. I think it's important to know what's going on around the world, especially with the current recession. It's effecting everyone's lives, from the world's top sportsmen to the working class, a high percentage of people now have less money than they had this time two years ago. In my opinion I think we've seen the worst and things are already starting to gradually improve, but I think it's going to take a few more years for the banks and consumers to regain their confidence and start spending again. I am however grateful it's not my job to predict this.