New Delhi: He has made winning 12 world titles look like a stroll in the park but India's poster boy of cue sports Pankaj Advani says it is not easy to deal with the anxiety and stress, crediting his elder brother Shree for helping him handle pressure.
"Shree (a celebrity sports psychologist) has helped me a lot with his inputs and guidance. It is very difficult to handle anxiety, stress and emotions while you are playing. These are the few things that I have been working on and I think it has helped me achieve what I have," Advani, who is in a game switch mode with a one-week stay in Sheffield ahead of the World Snooker Championship, told PTI.
"Sports Psychology plays a great part in modern sports because everybody has the skill and ability and the confidence to pull it off. Sometimes it's just about taking that opportunity at the right time. Taking your chances at a time when nobody will think of. To do something different. Approach it differently from what the others are doing, even if it is just the sharpness of mind. Shree has really helped me out in these aspects," he added.
Bangalore's 'Golden Boy' Advani humbled rising England cueist Robert Hall in a five-hour World Billiards Championship final to pocket his third grand double post his 150-up short format win last week. While the statisticians are going bananas counting Advani's records, the 29-year-old champion is just happy to enjoy his success.
"Of course there have been numbers, a lot of records that have been broken, history been rewritten, this win being unprecedented and the statistics. That's for everyone else to discuss, the statisticians and the followers and the ones who love sports, who love digging out records. As a player I am very very fulfilled at the moment, very pleased that I have been continuously evolving and growing," said Advani.
Handing his mother, Kajal, a perfect birthday gift on October 29 with his short format triumph, Advani said that making days count is satisfying.
"It definitely plays a very significant role and I do remember the first world championship, the IBSF World Snooker in 2003, it happened on Diwali. Even the IBSF 6-Red during Ramzan. So there are very very significant days and they mean a lot to people and if I can contribute and add to the happiness or occasion it just feels great," said Advani.
Advani has emerged as a rare all-rounder in cue sports, with his 12 titles spaced between billiards, snooker and 6-Red snooker to the short and long formats as well.
But Advani insists that though he is still the same player with more numbers but insists that this tournament made him feel different.
"As a player I felt different playing this tournament. I don't think it has changed after winning. I am still the same player, the same human being. But I think the player that played this tournament compared to 2008 and 2005 is a lot different because I have come to England to play snooker as well. It has taught me a lot of things," said Advani.
"A more professional approach to the game. It made me more positive, aggressive and that is how you should be in sport. There are times when you need to hold back and be defensive for which I have been able to understand and I have been able to asses the situation at the right time at any given state of the tournament. So in terms of that I have been a completely different player in this tournament," he added.
Former great Geet Sethi was quick to congratulate and praise Advani for his feat, saying that he is still midway in his career. Advani is overwhelmed with the response from colleagues, friends and fans.
"No one has seen the future. It's very nice of him to shower such praise on me. I am just enjoying the moment to be honest. I have never thought how long I will play the game or how many more titles I can possibly win or what I should aim.
"I have just been enjoying every victory, every success. And the fact that I have had the opportunity to excel in my profession. I am grateful to my employers ONGC, the Karnataka State Billiards Association the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India and players like Geet and all my peers wishing me so well makes me motivated to go ahead achieve more," he added.
Advani said creating his own style has made him stand apart.
"What I have realised is that I have tried to imbibe all the good qualities from the greats of the game. Their positive qualities. At the same time I feel everyone has their own individual creative style. No two players should be compared. If you talk of Michael (Ferrera) and Geet, they are class players from different generations. But I feel that you should create your own style," he concluded.