Ben Mertens on dealing with tremor from vaccine and Ronnie O’Sullivan helping to turn his game around

2023 Betvictor Welsh Open - Day 4

Ben Mertens has been picking up some impressive results on the table (Picture: Getty Images)

Teenager Ben Mertens is looking impressive on his first season on the professional tour, thanks partly to some kind words from Ronnie O’Sullivan and despite a tremor he has suffered since taking the Covid vaccine.

The 18-year-old beat Ricky Walden 4-1 in the opening round of the WST Classic on Thursday, which follows on from a great run to the last 16 of the Welsh Open last month.

It was a difficult start to his first campaign as a professional, but a meeting with Ronnie O’Sullivan at the English Open in December helped turn things around.

He lost 4-3 to the Rocket, but pushing the world champion all the way and some kind words from him afterwards gave the Belgian the boost he needed.

‘I’ve been having a good second half of the season,’ Mertens told after beating Walden in Leicester. ‘I was really struggling before that game, I wasn’t able to settle in the matches on tour. It was a hard time.

‘But then the match against Ronnie gave me a big boost and a lot of confidence. Since then I’m a different player.’

O’Sullivan has played Mertens twice this season (Picture: Eurosport)

On what Ronnie said to him after, Ben added: ‘Not advice but he said some very nice words and also in his interviews afterwards said some good things about me.

‘If Ronnie says things like that, it gives you a massive boost.’

O’Sullivan was indeed complimentary after that game, telling Eurosport: ‘He is a great cueist, hits the ball well.

‘I like his game. He is only young and he is going to be around. The sky is the limit for him really.’

One noticeable part of Mertens’ game since he has been on tour has been an obvious shake at times when he is down on the shot. It looked like it may have been nerves for the rookie, but he is actually suffering with a tremor which has come about since receiving the Covid vaccine.

It is a problem that fellow pro Scott Donaldson struggled with and has overcome, but Mertens is still suffering in his head, while a tremor in his arm has subsided.

‘It started when I took my vaccine. I spoke with Scott Donaldson, he had it as well after his vaccine,’ said Mertens. ‘We’ve tried some doctors but it was not helping. Now we are seeing a specialist in these kind of things, there is a little bit of improvement already.

‘It’s mentally quite tough because I can’t break it. When I’m settled it goes away a little bit, it’s okay, but it gets worse with nerves.

‘It doesn’t really affect my game but I want it to go away, of course, but I have to be patient.

‘Scott’s just went, he said it can take a while. I think it’s going to go away in time.

Ben Mertens is playing really well, despite …read more

Source:: Metro


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