Shaun Murphy says a bullying culture is killing young people and he is determined to silence social media trolls, writes Will Jennings.
Murphy, the world No.7, beat Mark Williams 6-4 in the first round of the Masters and is currently taking part in ‘Snooker’s Biggest Loser’ against Master of Ceremonies Phil Seymour.
Murphy and Seymour are raising money for the Jessie May Trust and Kitchen for Everyone – York Foundation – but also want to raise awareness for the ‘dark’ times people are suffering on social media.
The competition with Seymour will run until the eve of the World Championship on April 16 and Murphy, 38, said: “We both want to lose weight – that’s the starter.
8“And then afterwards, we’re trying to raise awareness for the dark areas of social media where people can be a little less than polite if you’re carrying a bit of weight.
“Some of the names you get called aren’t particularly nice, so I’m trying to raise awareness of that.
“That’s not really on anymore and it’s about time somebody said something about that, because of the knock-on effects.
“We’ve already seen some very high-profile people dealing with social media not being able to cope with it. They’ve eventually taken their own life. It’s very, very serious.
“I think it’s about time we stood up to these bullies and told them where to go. I’m wanting to raise awareness for that, and we’re also trying to raise money for two great charities – the Jessie May Trust and Kitchen for Everyone – York.”
Back on the baize, Murphy was pegged back time and again by veteran Williams but eventually got over the line.
The 2005 world champion raced into a 3-1 lead after breaks of 93 and 50 but Williams, Masters champion in 1998 and 2003, levelled after two fine 108s and a steady 54.
Murphy struck a ninth frame break of 81 to put him on the brink and while Williams made 52 in the tenth, it was not enough to stop the ‘Magician’ battling to victory.
Murphy soared to Masters glory at Alexandra Palace in 2015 and will now face defending champion Stuart Bingham in the next round.
He’s swapped calories for kale at the Marshall Arena and hopes a healthy diet away from the table can propel him to glory on it.
“I’m very, very pleased – and very relieved as well,” he added.
“Mark came back at me very well from 3-1 down. It had the feel that it was going to go to a last frame decider – it didn’t and I’m very happy to be through.
“I think if you can sometimes change your perspective on things, it can have a knock-on effect in all aspects of your life.
“This has re-energised me and refocused me in a different way. I’m not thinking about reds and blacks at the moment – I’m thinking about staying away from all the calorific foods that I love and making sure I weigh a little bit less than I did the previous day.
“That’s my main focus, but I’m obviously here trying to win. I’m trying to be here and be grateful for the opportunity that we’ve got because there are lots of people who aren’t quite so lucky at the moment.”
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