Published: 08:00, 16 October 2020
| Updated: 09:38, 16 October 2020
Barry Hawkins admits too many pints and not enough potting has held his career back.
The Ditton player crashed out of the English Open in the fourth round on Thursday night after a 4-2 defeat against Neil Robertson but enjoyed a positive run in Milton Keynes, beating Joe O’Connor in the morning to reach the last 16.
The world No.20 has been through the wringer in recent years and was able to reach just two ranking event quarter-finals last season.
But Hawkins reckons lockdown came at the perfect time as he rediscovered his passion for baize, not beers, to get his career back on track.
“I’ve just been trying to behave myself a little bit better off the table,” the 41-year-old said.
“Less drinking and more snooker! I’ve been trying to practice hard and behave myself a little bit more and keep fit a little bit.
“I’ve been going out on the bike all the time and trying to do stuff that makes me feel good, so it can only help.
“As soon as lockdown started I thought it was time to put that spare time to good use - I did, and I’ve been trying to keep it up and I’m going to try and keep it going for the rest of the season.
“I probably just enjoyed myself a little bit too much - it was a tough couple of years but if you want to do well at this game you’ve got to make sacrifices.
“I'm still going to go out and enjoy myself but I’m just going to try and pick and choose the right times a bit more.
“Not when there’s a tournament around the corner and not when there’s three or four days to go - I’m not going to go and go out and blow myself up.”
Hawkins’ display against Robertson showed signs of the player who reached the World Championship final in 2013 as breaks of 98 and 71 thwarted the world No.3’s progress.
But classy visits of 91, 90 and 57 from the Australian proved too hot to handle for the Hawk.
The Kent player knows he’s turning a corner, however, as he bids to rediscover the form that saw him scoop the 2017 World Grand Prix and 2014 Players Tour Championship.
He’s putting in the hard yards on the practice table and says a return to the big time is just around the corner.
“I felt good and quite confident, which is good signs - I’ve just got to hopefully take it forward for the rest of the season,” he added.
“Definitely in practice I’ve shown some of the best form I’ve shown in ages. I think I feel like I’m almost there so if I can just keep putting the work in, hopefully good things are around the corner.
“I just want to turn up at every tournament feeling I’ve prepared properly - there are quite a number of tournaments where I’ve turned up and in the back of my mind I know I haven’t put the work in.
“I don’t want to feel like that no more and if I can keep putting the work in and turning up knowing I’ve prepared properly, that’s all I can ask for and we’ll see how we go.”
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