Hossein Vafaei is feeling good about himself and his game (Picture: Getty Images)
Hossein Vafaei was not cutting the happiest figure on the snooker circuit at times last year, but he is enjoying the game again and said: ‘I’m in a happy place.’
Vafaei had a great 2022 on the table, winning his first ranking event at the Shoot Out and then becoming the first Iranian player to reach the Crucible.
However, he was not at necessarily loving life at times, saying in August: ‘At the moment I don’t enjoy the game at all and I don’t know why. It’s really bad.’
He added in November: ‘I’m alone in this country. Sometimes it’s hard to know what I’m doing here, why I’m here,’ Vafaei said. ‘As a young person I should enjoy my life. You practice 7-8 hours a day, you don’t see anyone, you’re losing opportunities in your life.
‘I’ve said that before, it’s getting boring, so boring. If this sport doesn’t change to be something big it’s going to be the same, very boring.
‘We need something to change, at least make the venues, qualifiers everything nicer.’
It appears that the 28-year-old has put those problems behind him, though, and a focus on enjoying himself is paying off, helped by a trip to Thailand for the recent Six Reds World Championship.
‘They look after us very well as a snooker player,’ he said after winning his first round match at the WST Classic. ‘I didn’t get chance to say thank you to the Thailand Snooker Association, the sponsors, who made the tournament happen. I’d like to say thank you to all those people.
‘We are so happy to have the Asian market back and every one of the players were happy to be playing over there.
‘I had such a good time in Thailand with the lovely fans, it was such a great time.’
While a trip to Thailand was always going to be a fun one, Vafaei is taking a more positive outlook over the rest of the tour.
‘Now I’m enjoying myself more than before, I think personally I’ve changed a little bit,’ he said. ‘I’m getting more easy [relaxed] than before, everyone of us, one day we come, one day we go, it doesn’t matter.
‘I just want to enjoy, I don’t want to give bad feelings to anyone. I just want to enjoy and I’m enjoying it at the minute.’
Vafaei had previously mentioned wanting to work with an experienced player on tour to help him take the next step in his career, but for now he is getting the bit between his teeth and taking on the world on his own.
‘I feel alright, I’m not struggling at all, I’m sharp as always,’ he said.
Hossein Vafaei made his Masters debut in January (Picture: Getty Images)
‘Sometimes you look at other players, they’re improving with someone beside them, you’re feeling lonely, but I’ve learned to be alone can be more …read more