Pankaj Advani will complete one year as a professional next month and the 28-year-old is enjoying every bit of the struggle.
“When you are a professional, it becomes a job. You have to eat, breathe and sleep the game. You have to practice four-five hours a day. A lot of fitness is involved,” Advani told dna at the Khar Gymkhana, where he is competing in the RKG-Khar Gymkhana Snooker Masters.
Advani spoke about how the approach changes when one turns pro. “The approach is different from playing as an amateur. If you are going for an attacking shot, you have to make sure it counts. If you are looking for a safety approach, it has to be with 100 per cent application as every match is a knockout and you have less chance to comeback,” he said. “There is no security. You have to play well to survive and every opponent is equally good. So, on your day, you can beat the best in the world, that is why it makes the circuit very challenging and exciting.”
Apart from the day-to-day struggle, the financial part, too, is important. “It is an expensive affair. You need good financial support. My employers, ONGC, helped me last year. The prize money is great, that’s why everyone wants to take up snooker. You can make a living out of it if you are in the top 32.”
Advani is not looking far too ahead. “One day at a time, that is how I take it. When I joined the tour, I was hopeful I would win a few games. But, it was tough. I want to win every game, play to the best of my ability and improve,” he added.
So, how does he keeps himself motivated? “You have to be self-motivated as there is no one around to advice. My brother is a sports psychologist. He follows my game online and figures out where I need to improve,” Advani said.