Keighley’s Rebecca Kenna is set to make her professional debut this Thursday at the BetVictor Shoot Out and we caught up with our world number four ahead of the tournament.
Hi Rebecca, with just a few days to go how much are you looking forward to making your professional debut at the Shoot Out?
I’m very excited to be playing in the Shoot Out. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to play in a professional event for the first time and I hope that I can keep my nerves in check and enjoy the experience.
How did you feel when you found out that you would be nominated to play in the tournament?
I was shocked and very honoured to be given one of the eight places.
It has been hard practising alone with nothing on the horizon to practice for during the past year. I’ve not had much else to do due to the Covid-19 restrictions, so it’s great to have something to look forward to and practice for.
Did you ever think when you entered your first event at the 2016 Eden Classic that it would ultimately lead to you being able to compete in a main tour event?
Not at all. I’d only played league snooker for a couple of years I just thought I’d give one a go and see how I went on. Once I played in the first event, I knew I wanted to play every tournament and see how far up the rankings I could go.
I seemed to join the WWS tour just as it was on the up so I’ve seen it grow to a worldwide tour with more events and more prize money and seen what opportunities have arisen along the way e.g. invites to WST events and playing at the Crucible Theatre.
Obviously the BetVictor Shoot Out has a unique format – how well do you think your game will be suited to the event and have you been practising under the clock yet?
I love the format and I think it would suit my game, I’m a fairly quick player and see shots very quickly.
I’ve actually been trying to slow down to help with my concentration and consistency, but I’m going to have to forget all that and go back to being quick again!
With my husband working full-time and the Covid-19 restrictions, I have had mainly solo practice with nobody to run a shot-clock for me so, I’ve resorted to listening to previous Shoot Out matches loudly while playing frames against myself. I haven’t lost one yet! 😬
Do you have any particular targets or expectations from the event?
I’d like to showcase how well I can play but I’m aware I could just get one shot and it could be all over.
It’s such a lottery this format and with the added pressure of it being my debut professional tournament on live television, I’m putting no expectation on myself to do anything other than enjoy it.
Has been a difficult year for us all due to coronavirus – how have you coped and how have you kept yourself busy over the past 12 months?
It’s been very hard, I run my own snooker shop [Cue Sports Yorkshire] where I do snooker coaching so it has been very stop-start with everything.
The only positive of this current lockdown is that I can get as much practice in as I like since I have no customers or students to teach [Rebecca is also a WPBSA 1st4sport Level 2 qualified coach].
Five years on from joining the women’s circuit, how do you reflect on that time and what are your hopes for the next five years once we can get back to playing?
I’ve enjoyed seeing the tour grow and excited for its future and development. The five years have flown by, I feel I’ve improved every season and I’m still striving to improve further.
I still love practising and developing my game so I’m very much looking forward to the next five years.
The BetVictor Shoot Out runs from February 4 to 7 in Milton Keynes. Top stars in the field include John Higgins, Mark Williams, Shaun Murphy and defending champion Michael Holt.
The popular tournament, which was first staged in 2011, has a unique set of rules, with matches lasting a maximum of ten minutes and a shot clock of 15 seconds for the first five minutes and ten seconds for the last five.
Televised live by Eurosport and a range of other broadcasters worldwide, the event is part of the BetVictor European Series. For the first round match schedule click here.