Shaun Murphy reveals he is playing with pain at UK Championship ahead of first round clash with David Gilbert

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Shaun Murphy has revealed he is suffering with back problems at the UK Championship, which means he is in pain when playing some shots.

Murphy, who had gastric sleeve surgery partly due to social media backlash he received, has failed to go beyond the third round of any ranking tournaments so far this season.

He was beaten in the last eight of the European Masters, failed to reach the main draw of the British Open and was knocked out in the second round of the Northern Ireland Open.

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The world No. 13 faced David Gilbert in the first round of the UK Championship on Tuesday night.

“I have still got a few back problems,” Murphy told Eurosport. “It’s been at me for the last few days, been having a bit of physio here in York.

“It’s not perfect by any stretch so I’m playing a lot of shots in a bit of pain. Hopefully that won’t cause me too much problem but I’m doing my best and will always give my 100 per cent.”

Murphy is approaching the latter stages of his career at 40 years old and enters a crucial period in his snooker career as he fights to stay inside the top 16.

Since reaching the World Championship final in 2021, where he lost to Mark Selby 18-15, he has largely been below his best.

His last ranking tournament title came at the 2020 Welsh Open and Murphy says he looks at players such as 46-year-old Ronnie O’Sullivan who have proved you can still play at a high level as you get older.

“I look at someone like O’Sullivan who’s won each Triple Crown event seven times apiece,” said Murphy. “It’s an unbelievable statistic.

“Myself down there with one [each] of the three, it would be lovely to add as many as you can. But at 40 years of age I am enjoying my snooker, coming to these events to try and perform my best each week.”

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Stream the 2022 UK Championship and more top snooker action live and on-demand on discovery+.

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