Aditya Mehta: 'Some of my biggest victories were against Advani'

Mehta has been playing against Advani since both of them were about 15 years of age. The two came together to win the World Team snooker crown in September.

Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta overcame a tough Thai challenge to emerge World champions in the IBSF World snooker team event.   -  IBSF

Reflecting on the World Team snooker title he won with his partner-cum-rival Pankaj Advani, cueist Aditya Mehta on Monday cherished his special bonding with the 23-time World champion.

The two iconic names in Indian cue sports showed good cohesion to claim the World Team snooker crown in September.

Mehta, 34, looked back at the moment of glory with a lot of pride. “After we won the World Team title, Pankaj said, 'One day it had to happen.' We had not won anything together. We were such a strong team and we had such good understanding and partnership,” Mehta told Sportstar.

Mehta and Laxman Rawat, who bagged the World Six-Red crown this year, were here to attend a function organized in their honour by their employer Indian Oil.

“We played together four times. The big one was the professional World Cup – we made it to the semis. We lost in the finals of a couple of Asian events.”

Mehta, who has been playing against Advani since both of them were about 15 years of age, said some of his ‘biggest victories came against’ the 23-time world championship gold medallist.

“The (inaugural professional tour) Indian Open final came at the expense of him. My first Asian title came when I beat him in the final. My first Asian final came when I beat him in the semis. My first National junior title came when I beat him in the final. When two of us are there in a field, it’s either me or him.

“We split (on professional and amateur circuits) because he had his own thing and I had my own. Both of us achieved what we wanted to achieve.”

Looking forward to the next year, Mehta said he would try to get back on the professional tour through the qualifying event in May.

“It’s the magnitude – millions of people watch it, 128 good players – that attracts me. I love the professionalism. Pro tour is where the livelihood can come in.”

The only stumbling block for Mehta could be a five-year-old neck pain. “If I am not healthy, I am not going to go. My neck is still a major issue for me. I need to play to my standard which I have not reached. I need to be less dependent on painkillers,” he said.