CHENNAI: Pankaj Advani is one of the biggest draws at the 7th National 6-Red snooker championship being held here. As he took centre-stage on Wednesday, those who gathered to catch a glimpse of the 32-year-old were thoroughly entertained as Pankaj cruised past Abhimanyu Gandhi 4-0 in the campaign opener. As was expected, Pankaj looked in complete command from the start and never allowed his opponent to get his eye in.
There may not be much left for the 18-time World champion to accomplish in his sporting discipline, but Pankaj is keen on evolving into a player who conducts himself with the dignity and poise of Swiss legend Roger Federer. “Federer is a champion in every sense of the word. He is as smooth and as graceful as one can be,” Pankaj says, before adding, “The fact that Federer is relentless in his pursuit of excellence and plays the game with so much flair attract many to him. Also, he connects with fans like no other sportsperson does. The time he devotes for his fans and the way he interacts with them is just remarkable. Federer has taken interaction and engagement with fans to a new level.”
The Bengaluru boy is clearly at a stage where he plays the sport for the love of it. “I wake up in the morning and look forward to playing just for the joy of it. Playing the sport takes me to a new world altogether. I consider myself to be an artist more than a sportsperson who likes to shine and create something new every time I am playing,” Pankaj said.
While Federer inspires Pankaj to follow the path of excellence, his sports psychologist brother Shree Advani ensures he is in the right frame of mind ahead of any competition. “My conversation with Shree revolves around dealing with anxiety, stress and the pressure of performance. There are times when I am scared of an opponent or I feel a bit wary and his inputs help me to relax,” he said.
As part of his preparation, Pankaj practises visualization techniques before heading for any battle. “I visualize myself playing well and executing the right shots. At times, you have to visualize and prepare for the worst as well. But at the end of the day, it’s just a game,” he said.
Among the new kids on the block, Pankaj is particularly pleased with the way Tamil Nadu’s Shrikrishna has shaped up. “He is a great talent and has a bright future ahead of him. The youngster is definitely a player who will go places,” said Pankaj. Shrikrishna will be locking horns with Pankaj in their group clash on Thursday morning.
Source : timesofindia
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