Doherty aims to make his mark
Ken Doherty goes into next week's Dafabet Players Tour Championship Grand Finals with renewed confidence after a welcome return to form.
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The Dublin cueman Doherty is among a star-studded 32-man line up for the event in Galway, along with the likes of John Higgins, Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson and Mark Allen.
Doherty reached the quarter-finals of the recent Welsh Open, beating Higgins on the way and the semi-finals of the Scottish Open PTC event last December as he showed glimpses of the form that made him world champion in 1997.
"I took some good scalps at the Welsh and that gave me a boost to know that I can still beat the top players at the main venues," said the 43-year-old.
"Maybe I can't pot balls and make big breaks in the way I used to, but I've still got the tactical side of the game. You never lose that and if you use it to your advantage it elongates your playing career - as Steve Davis has proved.
"Qualifying for the PTC finals was my main target for the season, along with getting to the Crucible. I missed out on Galway last season and I was gutted.
"It's going to be a really special event and it will be fantastic to play in front of my home crowd. Galway is a wonderful home for the event and I'm sure we will get great crowds because the people in Ireland love snooker. It will be a superb atmosphere especially as it's St Patricks weekend."
Doherty is building a burgeoning career in the media but is determined to emphasise that his career on the green baize still takes priority.
"I'm still a player first and foremost," he insists. "People come up to me and ask me if I'm still playing, because they've seen me on TV as a pundit.
"It drives me mad and I have to tell them through gritted teeth not to forget me as a snooker player. I might not be on TV in the big tournaments as much as I used to be but I'm doing OK. I'm as passionate about the game as I have ever been."
Doherty plays his opening match in Galway next Wednesday against Kurt Maflin.