A big breakthrough is around the corner for cueist Lucky Vatnani

Considered among one of the brightest stars, Vatnani hasn't yet landed the big prize. Having breezed through his first round of matches at the National 6-Red championship here on Saturday, Vatnani attributed the lack of big wins to his mental block.

Vatnani (L):"I can not just think about the big win, but I do have to make it happen."   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

In the life of a sportsperson, silverware and titles are small milestones reminding them about the direction and the distance they have travelled.

However, there are a handful of unlucky ones, who, though talented, haven’t quite lived up to the expectations.

Lucky Vatnani is one of them. Considered among one of the brightest stars, he hasn't yet landed the big prize. Having breezed through his first round of matches at the National 6-Red championship here on Saturday, Vatnani attributed the lack of big wins to his mental block.

Fighting all odds

“I think it is my own mind,” he said. “I have a lot of demons in my head, and that is what I have been trying to solve, through meditation and exercises.

“I wouldn’t say I am there yet but it is a process. Through the years, I have learnt and I have been evolving as a player, as a person, so it is showing. I don't know when I will get that big win.”

"But I also admit I have to put in that extra yard in practice, now that the competition has increased. I can not just think about the big win, but I do have to make it happen. I do, however, have belief in myself and I am sure it will come.”

Although the general perception is an athlete generally peaks in the 30s, the Hyderabad-based cueist feels in snooker “we can drag it a bit say up to 40.”

"But I think this is about time. I know myself and my game well, and I know I can do it.”

Having tried his hand at professional snooker once, Vatnani hasn’t given up on it but feels, “It is tough. It is tough to get in. You have to play quite a few tournaments and the competition gets tougher every year. I do play one tournament in the year but it is not enough.

"Having said that, I am glad I am home with family and the number of tournaments have increased here, so I am fine. There you are on your own and financially too, it is tough. But I haven't given up on it yet.”

Cue Slam a revelation

Talking about the Cue Slam event, in which he reptresents Hyderabad Hustlers, Vatnani said it “gave us tremendous eyeballs.”

“It was a tournament for the audience. It will certainly make the sport more visible, get more sponsors and get more companies backing us.

READ: Cue Slam aims to make it big

"It is quick action, more so when people aren’t too willing to spend a long time watching us play, this is quick and people loved it.

“I think we got some record viewership in television audience. It is evolving and will certainly help in extending the reach of the sport. And that is always good.”

Growth of the sport

About the growth, Vatnani said, "Of late we are having quite a few tournaments, We have a calendar throughout the year. Clubs and cities are coming forward to host. This is what we, as players want - opportunities to play more and improve.”

Very clear about where the sport is headed and clear on his journey, the big breakthrough may just be around the corner.