Multiple-world champion Pankaj Advani may have got his first break in snooker when he won a major tournament in China, but he maintains that billiards gives him identity.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the Kolkata Open snooker championship that will get underway on Wednesday, Advani maintained that billiards was his first love.

“Billiards is my identify; something that has given me so much. At this stage I am happy to manage both,” he said. “At this point I don’t think there is any one else who competes in both games. So it’s quite unique.”

After his title in China, Advani said he wanted to go to the UK but did not get a wild card. “So I switched to billiards,” he added.

In a lighter vein, he said, “billiards is like a wife and snooker a mistress. I have to find a balance between the two. Currently, I am happy to pursue both!”

Advani will not be playing at the Kolkata Open. Instead he will participate in the two-day Pro-Am that began on Monday.

He said to popularise snooker it should be televised. “It is up to the Billiards & Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) to take the sport to the masses. The key will be to organise more tournaments.”

To a question on another snooker ace Aditya Mehta, Advani said, “He is very talented. We never expected him to be so successful so early. He has achieved a lot in the last five to six years,” he said.

Advani, who could be many sportspersons’ inspiration and idol, revealed that Roger Federer was his inspiration and Sachin Tendulkar was his Indian idol.

“My inspiration has to be Roger Federer. His style, grace and play and the way he handles the pressure, popularity and fame is a perfect example of a great sportsperson. There is so much in him to look up to.

“As a child I was a big fan of Tendulkar. I used to watch cricket only because of him,” he added. — Special Correspondent

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